Holidaying with a Baby – How Too?

Happy holidays

Happy holidays

Blazing hot sunshine, the sound of the crisp ocean waves, ice cold drink in my hand and the dull beats of a little music playlist i created myself, we won’t go into what’s included on that playlist, let’s just say I’m an easy listener. When i close my eyes and think of these delightful thoughts i’m right back to my Summer holiday, total relaxation. One year on, add in a small baby to the mix and things are a little different. Don’t get me wrong, our Summer holiday may have been different but was i still relaxed, did i have a good time, would i go and do it all over again? Yes, yes and without a doubt is my answer.

Freya's first holiday

Freya’s first holiday

Freya was 6 months when we took her to the South of Spain in September along with her teenager brother. The difference being, he only needed an electronic device and wifi and he was happy. We opted for a place not too far to travel and where the temperatures would be milder than the likes of Egypt, little did we know they were going to reach the high 30’s. We had no idea what Freya was going to be like in warmer climates, luckily she’s like her mummy and loves the sunshine. Although she had set times for her bottle, extras were added in to make sure she was getting enough fluids, funnily, she didn’t seem to mind having those extra bottles.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Passport
First on the holiday to do list was Freya’s passport, let’s do it ourselves we said,how hard could it be? That was our first mistake, why did we think we would be able to lie Freya on a white sheet and it wouldn’t crinkle? Crinkling was a no no according to the government website which tried to guide us. Now i have no idea what we were thinking, but myself and Mark, Freya’s daddy, decided to try a photo booth next. How was that ever going to work you may ask, you are right to ask, it didn’t work. There was always a head or hands in the way and they weren’t Freya’s. So we did what we should have in the beginning and went to our local photographers studio, ten minutes it took, he took the photos, photoshopped my hands out and printed them straight off all for £5.

Lightweight colourful clothing

Lightweight colourful clothing

What to pack
Suncreams, make sure you take two different brands incase one doesn’t agree with baby skin, check out other mum’s reviews on the products you buy as we all know, mum’s know best. Take a well equipped first aid kit with ointments for burns (more likely to be used on our teenager) rehydration powders suitable for babies, paracetamol incase your little one develops a temperature, sterile wipes, teething gel, antiseptic cream. Be prepared!

Freya’s clothing consisted of lots of light cotton garments, water suits for the pool and sun hats, the majority of the time she was in her nappy, but at night times when temperatures were still late 20’s, light weight clothes were a must.

Don’t forget to pack your baby monitors too if your in a villa, just for peace of mind and sterilising tablets, much easier than taking an actual steriliser.

Hats, hats, hats

Hats, hats, hats

Before you go
Research, research, research! Whether you are staying in a villa or a hotel, whoever you are booking it with will be able to help. Questions you need to ask; Where is your closest GP/Pharmacy? If your baby falls ill you need to know how to get help and where to go. Is there a nearby supermarket? If you need to purchase nappies and formula milk instead of packing them in your case, you need a supermarket. Don’t just assume that one of the corner shops where you’ll be purchasing your rubber dinghy will have a stock of products such as Pampers and SMA.

Don’t forget to add to your insurance too and apply for your European Health Insurance card too, this will allow you to access state provided healthcare in European countries for free or a reduced cost, it’s not an alternative to travel insurance!

Have you booked a transfer, now this played on my mind, travelling for 40 minutes in a taxi with no carseat, i couldn’t relax. I’m not saying that Spanish drivers are bad drivers, but have you ever noticed how many cars are in need of a little bit of paint work? If they weren’t covered in dust it was fairly large dints in the side. So, after a little bit of googling i found a whole host of taxi transfers who offered safety seats and it only cost an extra £10…and relax.

Love my pushchair

Love my pushchair

The Journey
At 6 months Freya was drinking formula milk, taking a couple of sealed preprepared bottles and one ready made plus a few sterile bottles, we were good to go. Make sure you work out how many are needed for the journey and what to take in your carry on bag. Airport security may make you test your baby’s milk, although we didn’t have too. Airport security also make you put down your pushchair to go through the scanners, now this is a pain, especially when they are settled and sleeping and you have to take off clothing. My advice, wear slip on shoes, no belts or jewellery, it makes the process so much easier.

Airlines do allow pushchairs to be checked in free of charge providing they are under a certain weight. It’s great as they can stay in the pushchair right up until boarding. We decided to purchase a lightweight pushchair to take with us for ease and because our main pushchair was a little expensive and i’ve seen on TV how they handle baggage. If something does happen to your pushchair you may be entitled to compensation, contact the airline direct.

Now, if you’re anything like my other half, you will panic that you’re going to be that family with the screaming child, no one wants to be that family. Luckily we weren’t, in fact Freya actually fell asleep at take off, the plane had the same effect as the car journey, what a relief. She didn’t stay asleep for 3 hours but we were prepared with snacks and toys (including iPad with cartoons), she liked walking up and down the aisle with me too and people watching, i think she gets that from her mummy too. But seriously, the 3 hour flight was fine going out and returning provided she was entertained, different snacks to sample, able to sleep and able to move about. We did however play pass the parcel between us both and big brother, which helped enormously.

Aeroplane selfie

Aeroplane selfie

The Venue
We opted for a villa, a home away from home, our own pool to have fun or relax, peace and quiet (we’re talking other people’s kid’s) and the ability to pop in and out when we want and walk around in our pants should we choose too. No taking bags of products and essentials to the pool each day, we just nipped inside. A lovely balcony to sit and relax at night usually with a deck of cards and nibbles…oh and the baby monitor of course. We had a fully fitted kitchen to sterilise bottles and do any needed laundry, they may be tiny but they generate some washing. For us it was perfect and it was no more expensive than staying in a nice hotel. We use www.holidaylettings.co.uk and www.owndersdirect.co.uk, but make sure you read reviews before booking!

Both of my babies

Both of my babies

 

Day/Night

Now what? First things first, trip to the supermarket for the men, the traditional stock up of water, a few beers, sweet treats, ice cream treats, fresh fruit, supplies for the BBQ (always make sure your villa has a BBQ, there’s nothing better than a family BBQ in the warm dark nights) supplies for breakfast, lunch and coffee for the caffetiere, perfect for sitting on the balcony early morning watching the sun rise. This supermarket visit also included nappies and formula milk, which were so much cheaper than at home too but just as good (maybe even better). Mummy and Freya unpacked and explored what would be home for the next week.

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

IMG_0591

Family selfie…perfect

 

Days would consist of breakfast on the balcony, a wander to explore the area, mummy and daddy would take turns having an hour each on the morning or in the afternoon to lie in the sunshine and relax whilst little madam stayed indoors where it was cool. This part of the day for me was a very warm welcome, i enjoyed every minute of that relaxation in the sun and i would urge everyone to do the same. We still had lots of play time, Freya loved the pool and it was nice and cool for her too, another must for a villa.
Early evenings when the temperature started to dip, we would take a short taxi ride to the marina for a stroll and a bite to eat and end the night with Freya in bed and us three on the balcony competing for the crown of Jacks, Two’s and Eights, a very competitive card game. A one that i seem to be very bad at!
For me, that’s a pretty perfect holiday, the people love most together in the sunshine with no real stresses other than where to eat that evening. Roll on the next Summer holiday.

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Dressing for your body shape

How many of you have seen that perfect item of clothing in a glossy magazine, decided to treat yourself and buy it only for you to try it on and think ‘well that’s not how I thought it would look’.  That’s because so many of us purchase clothing without even thinking about our own body shape and how it might look when we try it on.  How we look tends to have an impact on how we feel, for me, if I think I look good my mood and confidence is boosted and I become some sort of powerful goddess (OK maybe not but I can dream can’t I) but all joking aside, it does improve my mood and I feel good which results in a happier me.  There is nothing worse than feeling a bit rubbish, it brings you down and those around you, so don’t let it.

So here is the low down of a few of the more common body shapes and a few sale items still up for grabs this January to accentuate your body shape and make you feel great!

Straight – Up and Down

If your bust and hips are roughly the same size and your waist isn’t well defined, then chances are you fit into this category.  It’s not a bad category to be in, some might say you look sporty, well that’s what i get anyway. Although slim(ish), i’ve never had that teeny tiny defined waist you see on the likes of Lucy Mecklenburgh, but I’ve accepted that, time to move on.  I do however wear clothes that accentuate my waist to give the illusion of curves. There is nothing really that you shouldn’t wear, but certain items will just suit your shape better.  For example, illusion dresses are great for us lot as they give the illusion of a little waist, you can find them all over the internet. A fitted top and A line skirt which slightly flares is also a good choice,t o help you look like you have hips and a smaller defined waist. A pair of skinny jeans with a tailored shirt, also a good look. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t always get it right and might have had the odd fashion blunder, but hey, who’s perfect? Here are a few items I found that will suit you ladies reading this.

If your looking for a knock out dress for a night out or even a wedding, this AQ/AQ dress will look great on you straight bodied ladies with the wide belt to accentuate the waist.  It was £110 and now only £44, I love it.  Shame I go nowhere to wear it or else it would be purchased!

Straight up and down

AQ/AQ

This dress from Oasis is perfect to brighten up your work wardrobe, the stitching detail and flare in the skirt will help accentuate your waist.  It was £50 and now only £12 direct from Oasis.

Straight up and down 2

Oasis

 

If you’re a bodycon lover, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t make you look straight up and down but if you stick to ones such as these which have a ‘V’ neck and show off a little cleavage as well as the banded waist to give you a waist line, I’m sure you will look hot hot hot.  This isn’t in the sale but is only £35 from Missguided.

Straight up and down 3

Missguided

 

 

Pear Shaped

For you lovely ladies who have hips that may be slightly bigger than your bust, you will probably fit into this category. Embrace those sexy curves and choose clothing that makes you feel good. Stay away from patterned trousers and stick to dark colours on the bottom, patterns and bright colours take the eyes straight to the hips as well as pockets with any detail.  What you need to do is show off that waist and balance the top and bottom.  Clothing such as wrap over shirts are great for this as well as slightly flared skirts which may offset the hips.  Tailored trousers which fall from the widest part of your hip together with a tailored shirt, very smart. The dress below by Amy Childs is great for pear shape, although it hugs the hips, the peplum bottom offsets the hips and balances the body out.  This dress is from Very and was £70 but now only £35.

Pear shaped

Amy Childs

For those of you who may be looking for something a little more covered up but still sassy, i love this Victoria Beckham dress.  I know some women hate their arms too, we are never happy are we?! But this dress has it all, it is tailored which accentuates the waist, covers the arms and has a slightly flared skirt which balance out the hips. It’s also very pretty! From online retailer MyTheresa it was £660 and now only £264 and goes up to size 14.

Pear shaped 2

MyTheresa

Hourglass

Ok so we won’t talk about you too much since you can wear pretty much everything, you lucky people!  If your bust and waist are pretty much the same size and you have a well defined waist then you fit into the hourglass category. Bodycon dresses, highwaisted pants, maxi dresses, tailored, you name it, chances are you’ll look good wearing it! Moving swiftly on…

Top Hourglass

So for you busty ladies, if your top half is bigger than your hips then welcome to the top hourglass category.  I have a lot of busty friends who feel big all over if they don’t get their outfits right.  Wrap tops, wrap dresses, tea dresses as well as dark coloured tops, these are all wardrobe staples for you.  Don’t go for bright colours and bold patterns on top as peoples eyes will be drawn straight to your assets, you can however do that on the bottom to balance out your figure.

This wrap dress is from designer DVF, the wrap helps cover the bust with the belt to accentuate the waist and a slight flare to balance out with the illusion of hips.  It also has arms which helps enormously when it’s still fairly cold outside. It was £480 but now down to £205, an item of clothing that will never go out of fashion and will see you through season after season.

Top Hourglass

DVF

For a cheaper alternative, what about this ASOS dress available in many colours.  It has the wrap over detail, it is gathered at the waist which will hide any lumps and bumps as well as defining the waist.  Plus it has arms too, this dress is only £12.50 down from £25, get it in a few different colours while prices are so low!!

Top Hourglass 2

Asos

So, i hope i may have helped some of you look at what you wear and figure out what will help make you look even better, here are a few tips just to maybe help that little bit further…

Top Tips

Shorter ladies, try and keep your hemline to the knee or above and wearing neutral coloured court shoes will help make your legs look that little bit longer.

Underwear, are you wearing a bodycon dress?  Then wear invisible pantyline underwear and make sure it fits.  If your pants are too tight chances are there will be lumps and bumps on show for all to see. Invest in some ‘fat pants’ to help flatten the tummy with tight dresses.

The only time to wear lacey shorts is underneath a flared dress or skirt where no panty lines can be seen.

If you don’t feel comfortable in your outfit, don’t wear it.  If you need a few wines to help you feel good about what you are wearing, you’re wearing the wrong outfit.

Cleavage or legs, don’t do both ladies, you’re better than that.

Invest in quality staple pieces such as neutral court shoes, a pair of really well fitting jeans, a tailored blazer, a black A line skirt, items which will not go out of fashion and make you feel good!

I know how busy mums can get but take some time when the kids are in bed to apply a facemask, paint your nails or add some tan, whatever makes you feel good.

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