A Mini Break to Wales

Over the years I’ve got used to the fact that my mum lives over 180 miles away and isn’t around to help with the girls as much as I would like, and she would like of course. There are many down points to this but one of the major pros is we have a ready made get away. Mum rents the house out as a holiday let so we can’t go if she already has a booking but we have rarely found this to be a problem as we don’t go during peak holiday seasons.

Before we had the girls it was our little sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of life. Now it’s less of a sanctuary mostly due to needing eyes in the back of my head on a large scale. The house is very set up for kids but with slate floors and stairs it’s hasn’t been very suitable during the crawling stages. Now Perky is a good confident walker it is easier to go for a weekend and not worry excessively about the random stone step in the living room. Of course the girls don’t care, they just want to spend time with Nanny. Every time we do go Pinky becomes my mums shadow. Everywhere Nanny goes, Pinky goes. Well this visit everywhere Nanny and Pinky went, Perky went too! It’s very cute and very welcomed by me….. 5 minutes peace!

We packed up the car and headed off on our way. Unfortunately the girls didn’t sleep for long in the back, certainly not as long as we hoped. We have a couple of iPad holders for the car and had downloaded Frozen for Pinky and Pingu for Perky. We have the Recaro Monza Nova car seats which have headphones built into the seat. I can tell you this is the best feature ever! We could have the radio on whilst they watched their respective films. There were no arguments and best of all I couldn’t hear ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ for the 2,598,676th time.

Wales is famous for many things, rain is one of them. As we arrived at the tolls on the M4 it started to rain, the irony was not lost on us.

We didn’t venture much further than the local village for coffee and cake over the next couple of days. Grandad was a little poorly so the girls took their nursing duties very seriously and wanted to check on him regularly. I suspect really they took this as an opportunity to stroke and play with the cats but at least they had the kindness to pretend it was to look after Grandad.

We spent our days playing in the house, walking down the lane, feeding the horses and net fishing in the river. It was very relaxing and a much needed break from the suburbs. By the end Pinky even started calling my Mums dogs by their names rather than referring to them as ‘That dog’ and giving an accusatory point.

We were sad to leave but I must be honest this sadness disappeared when we got home and ordered a curry. May as well finish the weekend on a high! Who knows when we will get back down there. Life is getting busier and busier.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
The Pramshed
This Mum's Life

Operation Tear Prevention – Daddy

Children all have their soothers. Some have dummies, teddy bears, blankets. Pinky and Perky have Mr Rabbit and a Muzzy. Mr Rabbit, is a small rabbit holding onto a small blanket and at all costs is never on his own. Muzzy is a stuffed teddy dog head stitched into a small blanket, again, never ever seen without it. A familiar tale to you all I am sure.

I roll to day 4 of our holiday. The big one was being a touch high maintenance. We had great plans for a long(ish) evening eating food and drinking beer so I took her for a tactical walk in the little one’s pushchair. First off, she wasn’t impressed, luckily we managed to get her in, belted up and we were away. 10 minutes later in 30 degree heat and dodgy Spanish footpaths the shouting for mummy finally stopped. BOOM, she was asleep. Phase one complete, now just to keep her asleep. Easy – Keep walking. The heat had got the better of me, I had lost the will to keep walking so stopped by a local watering hole. ‘Juan’ (No idea what his name was but he responded to it.) kindly came to my rescue with a large, cold beer. 2 mouthfuls later I decide to take a peak beneath the sun shade of the pushchair. I said something along the lines of “OF F**K, WHERE IS MR F***ING RABBIT”Blood pressure up, ring the wife… “Please tell me you have Mr Rabbit?” “No, she had him when she left”.  I throw an entire beer down my neck, (I was brought up NEVER to leave beer.) Throw 3 Euros on the table (A rip-off, the beer is nasty and I am sure watered down due to the low levels of bubbles rising up the glass) and start to retrace my steps at a similar pass to Usian Bolt whilst surveying the horizon like a sniper. Minutes later I found him. Phew!

Lying next to the supermarket, enjoying the sun. The little fucker nearly gave me a heart attack.

All through this mayhem, the big one is fast asleep, non-the-wiser we had lost and found the most precious thing she has in her life. Well, nearly but it helps her sleep.

What did I learn? Nothing… nothing that I wasn’t aware of already and just by luck all was well. I feel for every parent that has been in this situation and not had the luck to recover the comforter. If I would have my time again, I woudl go out of my way to stop a child having a ‘soother’ at the very beginning. At some point we will lose Mr Rabbit, and that will be a sad day in our house.

Until next time, buenas noches.


Packing List

As mentioned in a previous post here is the personal packing list. This will be the third time we have been on holiday with children and the second time with two of them. The last time was to a resort but this time is self catering so I do plan to buy some nappies and swimming nappies out there, perhaps some wet wipes mostly as these take up so much space with the suitcases, especially two weeks worth.  We also have a washing machine in both the villas (first week is just us four and the second week Hubbys family are joining us and they have hired a large Villa for all of us) so I do plan on doing a little washing at some point. No I can’t really be bothered but I know it is the sensible thing to do. I am also very lucky with the girls as neither of them have sensitive skin so I am not worried about using new washing powder on their clothes. If this is a concern then do pack a few more outfits. To ensure I don’t forget anything I write an itemised list on my phone and I tick each item as I pack it, that way I know how much I still need to do, it also means I can add to the list if I forget something. I have put this list at the end of this post more as an insight into the crazy level of list making I go to.

  • Hats x1 each no one really needs more than one hat, just chose wisely.
  • Swimming Costumes I could save some room here as realistically we all only need 1 each but we do take 2/3 each. My reason for this is because of how we spend our days on holiday. We spend the morning at the pool, then go get lunch and get Perky to nap in her pushchair (hopefully Pinky won’t need a nap as we aren’t taking the double stroller this time). Then we return to the pool. None of us like putting damp swim suits on so we have a spare.
  • Beach Towels Some resorts provide these but sadly self catering doesn’t! So one each of these. I’m hoping there are at least bathroom towels in the villas.
  • Buggy Sunshade There are various ones on the market so its easy to find one you like within your price range. Most come with a 95% UV block. We have one that changes depending on how you tie it to the buggy and as it is only attached near the hood it allows really good air flow around Perky whilst she is sat or sleeping in the buggy.
  • Outfits x5 each This should be plenty as I will do some washing, gives me four days before I have to think about it then do four days worth on the fifth ready to start again. Make sense? It does in my head but thats not saying much. We don’t like to walk around in beachwear when not actually near water and never go to a restaurant in a bikini even if they don’t object (each to their own but its not for me!) so we do tend to get dressed into shorts, tops or dresses to go and eat. And although self catering, I don’t plan on doing much cooking besides conjuring up a bowl of cereal or a ham sandwich so we will be going out. In a large resort I take 1 outfit per day for the girls if I don’t have any means to wash clothes. It may seem excessive but that is usually only to people who don’t have kids or people who have these freakishly tidy eating children you occasionally hear rumour about….. I take less outfits for myself and Hubby as logically we make less mess eating (this is not true 60% of the time, is it Hubby?)
  • Flipflops x1 pair each Before now I have always taken 3 or 4 pairs, outrageous I know! But all of us only ever wear 1 pair of shoes. Both Hubby and I will travel in our Toms or Trainers, the girls will have their Doodles. So really I only need to pack 1 pair of chosen summer shoes per person. Worst case if a pair of flip flops break I will go and buy some more super cheap ones I can throw away after the holiday.
  • Sun cream Ok I go a little crazy here. I know you can get it abroad but it’s one of those crazy irrational mummy brain things for me that I don’t trust anything that I haven’t bought in Boots or Sainsburys. So I pack s**t tonnes of the stuff for all of us. I do let the girls get a little dose of vitamin D but beyond that that stuff gets lathered on and on and on.
  • Nappies I will take about four days worth with us this time of both swimming and normal nappies and I will buy some more in Menorca. We ran out on holiday last year and paid extortionate amounts to get more within the resort. This time Spanish supermarkets are on hand.
  • Toiletries This is where most of our space gets used up. Hubby and I will share a shower gel so I chose a relatively non fragrant one. The girls need a moisturising bath cream, shampoo and conditioner (they have as much hair as I do, refer back to point 2!) plus moisturiser. To save overall space Oilatum do a large bottle that should last two weeks and is so good for both adults and children. Our GP recommends it as a first line defence against eczema and now we always have it in the house. I don’t really need my usual cream so sharing this with the girls is a great way to save space and weight in the luggage. Alternatively a large tub of E45 cream would work. I don’t use aftersun, it is just moisturiser with a higher price tag….
  • Comforters I don’t know anyone that would forget these. The vital object in a childs life that can help make every situation or injury seem a little less scary. Mr Rabbit and Muzzie come everywhere with us. Literally f****ng everywhere! There is only 1 Mr Rabbit for Pinky as no other identical toy will suffice and this causes many panicked moments where we think we may have lost him. As such when Perky started showing signs of attachment to the Muzzie (Muslin cloth with a dogs head on it) we bought numerous identical ones and give her a clean one at least once a week. So much so, that now, if her current one gets a little smelly she goes to her wardrobe where they are kept and she gets a clean one out. So for her one will be a carry on item and the others will be in the suitcase. Pinky will be allowed 1 other cuddly toy that will be packed.
  • Chargers No point in taking technology with you if you cant use it. This includes camera chargers, Kindle and phone if you need it. Which we do. We are a fairly tech heavy family but that is what happens when you both enjoy good new technologies. (I don’t include these in my itemised list as it is very much Hubbys remit).
  • Baby Monitor There is an argument that we could probably live without this for two weeks. We have a camera monitor that runs of its own signal so you don’t even need Wi-Fi. Since the girls don’t usually share a room I would like to be able to keep and eye on them and make sure they are behaving themselves.
  • Calpol This stuff is vital some days at home so I would be very nervous if we forgot this.

Hand Luggage:

  • Entertainment iPads are the greatest invention ever if only for flying with children. We download age appropriate games, some films or cartoons and a drawing app. We take two iPads so the girls can have one each so there are no arguments or tantrums over what to watch or play next. We will also take a small colouring book for each of them and a few crayons. I used pack all sorts of toys and books in the suitcase to make sure they stayed entertained at all times and they just don’t get played with.  The wonderful thing about holidays is that because you don’t have a household to run or a job to go to the fun never really stops, toys are no longer a requirement for a small window of time, and if for some reason there are a spare 10 minutes that the children need to be occupied the iPads can come back out. For us toys are a ‘Just in case’ item and therefore expendable.
  • Passports 
  • Foreign Currency 
  • E111 cards If you don’t have them then get them. You can fill out a form online and then you will be sent the cards as proof of your entitlement to medical treatment as an European Citizen. This does not replace Travel Insurance but it means you may not have to make an insurance claim. Each country calls back medical cost from each patients home country. By having the card it simply makes any possible doctors trip abroad slightly less stressful.
  • Credit Card We keep this and the cash separate due to my paranoia. That way if one is stolen we should still be able to eat with the other for a couple of days.
  • Empty beakers Obviously you can’t take them through security full.
  • Snacks We will buy these and drinks to fill up the beakers at the airport. I suspect the only way we will get Perky to sit still for the 2 hour flight is to feed her for most of it!

We have a ‘Travel Wallet’ that we put everything in. It is just a clear A5 sized plastic zip pocket available in any stationary shop.

Lastly a Buggy. This year will be the first time we take a single one and to be honest I think we are taking a risk. Our double was super cheap and you can tell. Its so difficult to push with both the girls in it and if Pinky falls asleep her feet usually drop to the floor and drag. So we have made the decision to take our single one. This year only we will be taking the buggy board with us also but mostly because if we don’t one of us will likely end up carrying one child most of the time, simple sods law really. Next year the board won’t be coming. I’m hoping to have saved so much space in the cases by not packing non essential items that it won’t matter.

Obviously some sort of toddler transport when they can barely walk goes without saying but I have put it on here because on our first family holiday I saw a woman try to take her beautiful Stokke travel system with her.  Now obviously what pushchair you take with you is absolutely your choice. Helpfully the airlines will take it off you as you board and take it down to the luggage hold. With a single buggy, or a double you fold it up and give it to the airport staff. If you get it back at the other end and it has a couple of bumps or scrapes on it you are unlikely to notice. This poor woman had to take apart the travel system and then wrap it all up in numerous luggage ties. She obviously loved this thing, it was so clean and pristine (mine are always covered in mud… we don’t even really live in the countryside). Then she had to hand it over to airport staff and trust they wouldn’t throw it about, not just here but at the destination airport also. I didn’t see it when we arrived but I hope for her sake it treated with respect. Just get a buggy, they are lighter, smaller and even if you don’t use it daily at home it will be invaluable.  My logic is if I wouldn’t want to have to replace something then I probably don’t want to put it in the hold of an aeroplane for two weeks abroad.

I love packing to go away. It’s one of the best bits. I just wish I could enjoy doing it to come home.

Happy Packing X

Packing List



✅Mummy Shampoo & Conditioner

✅Girls Shampoo & Conditioner

✅Shower Gel

✅Bath Cream

✅Bio Oil

✅Face wipes


✅Frizz ease serum

✅Nappies x 12-16

✅Swim Nappies x 4

✅Wipes x 6

✅Muslins X 10




✅Nail clippers

✅Nail file


✅Contact lenses

✅Contact lense solution


✅Make up bag


✅Hair dryer

✅Hair brushes


✅Hair bands

✅Hair clips

✅Nail polish

✅Polish remover

✅Cotton pads

✅Cotton buds


✅Razor blades






✅Hay fever tablets

✅Fathers day present & Card

✅Carrier bag

✅Buggy sunshade

✅Hair wax


✅Dresses x 6

✅Knickers x 12

✅Socks x

✅PJ’s x 6

✅Flip Flops

✅Jelly shoes

✅Hats x 1

Swimming bag

✅Swimming costume x 3

✅Beach towel



✅Dresses x 4

✅Tops x 3

✅Shorts x 3

✅Playsuit (blue with stars)

✅Hats x 1

✅PJ’s x 6


Swimming bag

✅Swimming costume x 2

✅Beach towel



✅Shorts x 3

✅Dungarees x 1

✅T-Shirts x 2

✅Maxi dress x 1

✅ Jumpsuit X 1

✅Knickers x 10

✅Flip Flops


✅Hat x 1


Swimming bag 

✅Bikini x 4

✅Beach coverup


✅Tops x 6

✅Shorts x 2

✅Pants x 8

✅Flip Flops x 2

✅Black cap

Swimming bag

✅Swimming trunks

✅Swimming shorts x 2


✅Buggy Board & Seat

✅Buggy Hooks

✅Elephant Buggy Tidy

✅Chargers: iPhones, iPads, Kindle

✅Monitor Screen & Camera

Hand Luggage:

Mummy & Daddy

✅Travel Wallet

✅Changing Purse

✅Empty beakers

✅Snack Pot



Pinky’s Trunki

Mr Rabbit

✅Cuddly toys x 3


✅Books x 4

✅Colouring book

✅Pencil case

Travel Clothes














Vest Top








Holiday Packing

Someone asked today for advise on holiday packing so I thought I would write some.  We are off to sunny Menorca soon so this also serves the purpose of making me feel like I should take my own advise and pack lighter! I am a chronic over packer.

Packing for little ones is much easier if you can organise yourself, however you do that best. I personally like lists. I have been known to make lists of things I need to make lists for….. I am that ridiculous. My holiday list will often be rewritten a few times as I narrow down what I actually need to take.

Now everyone and every family is different with what they consider to be ‘must have’ items within their luggage so before I start my packing list here are some pointers to make your list individual:

  1. Consider where you are going and adapt your list accordingly
    What you take for an all inclusive holiday you may not need to take for a self catering.  Some resorts require a dress code in the evenings so you will need to pack extra clothes for yourselves and little ones. Also many resorts have well stocked shops for all the essentials but often at a vast cost. I prefer to bring as many nappies with me so I don’t have to buy them there.  However for a two week self catering holiday I am less fussed about the brand of nappy and am more than happy to buy some from a local supermarket as I run out.
  2. It is ok to have some ‘could not possibly live without, don’t even ask!’ items
    Mine is my shampoo and conditioner. My hair goes so dry in the sun and uncontrollably frizzy in the heat. There’s just so damn much of it. So on holiday I wash my hair more often than at home, I need my brand of product plus some anti-frizz heat protect serum. These come in relatively large bottles but I just won’t budge on this. Also I have contemplated not taking my hair straighteners on this next holiday but I seriously don’t know who I am kidding…. They will blatantly sneak their way into the suitcase.
  3. If you want to take something ‘Just in case’ you can be 99.9% sure you wont need it
    Trust me on this one. I do it every bloody holiday! ‘Oh, I’ll just take these shoes in case there might be occasion to wear them.’ ‘I’ll just pack these toys in case the girls get bored.’ Literally nothing I have packed on a ‘Just In Case’ basis have ever been used or worn.
  4. If you can do without it, then do without it
    I probably could live without my straighteners for 2 weeks. The girls can definitely do without their favourite cutlery.
  5. Even in hot countries it can get chilly
    If there is cold to be felt I will feel it. I am the last one to remove my sweatshirt and the first one to put the heating on. Of course I don’t usually anticipate my summer holiday getting too cold whether it is in the Mediterranean or Mexico but sometimes it does rain and sometimes the nights do get cold. I don’t actually pack for this eventuality I wear it travelling. I might look odd wearing my huge great but hoodie when we land in the sunny shores but I made sense back at Gatwick at 6am and I will more than likely look dressed for the weather when we return. This also means I haven’t lost space in the suitcase with the bulky clothing and footwear and it can all be removed when you get too hot.
  6. Utilise the hand luggage allowance
    If a passenger gets it, use it. You don’t have to fill the bags but it is useful to have the extra space (mostly for the jumpers we no longer need to be wearing).
  7. Get a Buggy
    Something cheap and cheerful is fine if it is only for the holiday and not planned for general use but a whole travel system is a large thing to take abroad and many buggies are suitable from birth. Although if you need to cater for a child under 6 months I would probably invest in a decent option as it is highly likely to be used at home more than you think it will.

Super major holiday hack…. You can preorder stuff from Boots online to pick up at the airport. This means instead of using up any luggage allowance on nappies, formula, baby food, toiletries…. anything really. You can pick them up from boots after you have been through check in and security and none of it counts against your personal allowance. You do of course have to carry it all but whilst traveling with little ones that require a pushchair of some description then that can carry it all…. most of the way anyway. This is also where making sure you have as much ‘hand luggage’ space as possible comes in handy…. some of it can go in there.

I will do a post soon with what is actually in our suitcases and hand luggage. Hopefully I don’t over pack for once.

Happy Holidays


A Break Away

After a few weeks of general nervous and fractious energy caused by both Hubby and myself (bloody work related as normal) a last minute decision to have a few days away just the four of us turned out to be more vital than I thought.  The holiday doesn’t seem like much on paper. It was only a Centre Parcs, not too long of a journey from home. At first I really couldn’t be bothered with the hassle for four days away but I knew it was important to Hubby so I went with it. And I am so glad I did. We hired a couple of bikes and Hubby pulled the girls along in a trailer, which they both loved. So did we! We completely fell in love with cycling again, something I haven’t done for approximately 12 years. Although after 4 days of hills and miles after miles of cycling both our legs and bums are now glad the holiday is finished!


We went swimming every morning, by the third day Pinky even plucked up the courage to go down the flumes on our laps. She loved it so much that was all she wanted to do after that.

“Again. Again.”

In the afternoons we would go for a cycle whilst the girls napped in the trailer, then to the outdoor play area, find some ice cream….. the weather was amazing for the first time this year. Two of the afternoons the girls went to the kids club so Hubby and I could have some child free time.  We had grand plans of going to the spa, however on reflection we cancelled our appointments and decided instead to go a prat around in the swimming pool.  We haven’t fooled around like that together since I fell pregnant with Pinky.  We went round the water rapids again and again like we were in our teens! Plus the slides. I laughed so much I’m sure I pulled a stomach muscle.

Throughout our break away we all relaxed. It made me realise how important it is to remember to take time out every now and again.

Pinky started to come out of her shell and grow in confidence.  I have often worried at how timid she can be and in need of extra reassurance compared with her peers of the same age (thus breaking my own number one rule to never compare her against anyone else). But by the time we came home she was as outgoing and playful as most other three year olds. Not once did I hear her say ‘I can’t do that.’ Instead she would respond ‘Ok! That’s a good idea.’ if we suggested an activity.

Perky got more and more exhausted attempting (and failing) to keep up with her older sister. The plus side to that is the extra cuddles we both got.


The weekend has also been really warm and sunny so we all helped sort out the garden ready for the summer.  Planting the pots, mowing the lawn, getting the garden toys out and the obligatory first BBQ of the year.

This week of sunshine and family has regenerated us all. We all seem to have more energy, we have been sleeping better, despite the heat and we are all having fun. I get a small amount of respite as the girls don’t necessarily come to me immediately to have their needs met. They now appreciate that actually Daddy is able to strap them into the car, get them a drink reach, the toy that just rolled under the sofa.

Of course the working week has started again and by Friday Daddy’s capabilities will be long forgotten and I will again be expected to be there for every little whim. I love how much they need me, and I don’t doubt that I will miss these days when they are grown and fled the nest, but every now and again it is refreshing to not be needed. At least not all day.


Vienna – a romantic December weekend

So, let’s start with the worst part… Leaving the girls. Ok, so it was only for 2 nights, my mum was looking after them and knew they would be absolutely fine…. But when it actually came to leaving the house at 0415 to go to the airport it was so much harder than I expected! I cried most of the way and then didn’t really relax until we landed in Vienna. Once I had started to relax I did get into the whole experience.

Vienna is simply beautiful, so clean and historical. In December there are Christmas decorations everywhere. I did a little research into the Christmas markets before we went so I knew where the main ones were. What I hadn’t realised was that every corner you turned there would be a different market. The main markets had some standardised stalls. They all had a Christmas decorations stall, I have never seen so many baubles. Then the candle stall, the glass gifts, wooden gifts, jewellery, plus loads more. If you saw something you liked in one market but didn’t get it, it would be available at another market. Some of the smaller markets also had some ‘one off’ stands which were always worth looking around. There were numerous drinks and food stands at each market. Goulash soup inside a giant roll, hot dogs stuffed into a hollowed out baguette with mustard. Pretzels, salted, sugared, iced…. Yummy! Then there was the punch…. Orange, apple, amaretto, mulled wine. Most were rather strong with alcohol and I’m fairly certain that the Austrians add brandy or some other spirit to their mulled wine…. It took me a little by surprise, it was delicious though. Our favourite was an apfelpunsch with winter Jack. It was like an apple pie in a mug, I had a few of those. The mugs came in various shapes and colours, boots, hearts, tankards. The deal was you pay a deposit for the mug and buy the drink of your choice. You could take the mug back for a refill or give it back and have your deposit returned. Otherwise you could keep the mug. We have quite a few in our kitchen now which I shall be filling with my own apple punch very soon.
Outside the Spanish Riding School and at other points throughout the city their were numerous horse and carriages available for a tour or just a romantic ride. We took one on the first night and it was magical, so romantic and the sound of the hooves on the streets was very festive. The main market outside the City Hall was enormous and had a wonderland walk around the outside. This market was my favourite. There were various festive displays of Santa, penguins, a nativity. Plus the post office for the Vienna Christmas postage mark. Each tree in the walk had a different theme, cupcakes, ladybirds, hearts, candy canes. The best time to view all of the markets was after sunset. When they were all lit up with fairy lights it was hard not to feel festive and cosy (even if it was 3 degrees).   
The hotel was lovely, clean comfortable and the staff were friendly. The breakfast was delicious and filling. 
All in all it was an amazing couple of days. We walked for miles but it was all worth it. The break from the girls actually did me the world of good and although I think it was harder being abroad and leaving them it did mean I had to accept it as I couldn’t exactly just go home. 

I would recommend Vienna to anyone. It was very pushchair friendly with street level lifts to the underground. These were very clean and well maintained, unlike the lifts in London. Plus many of the hotels are family friendly and will accommodate the need of babies, toddlers and children. I would love to go back and maybe even take the girls when they are older, it would be nice to do it when they could cope with staying up late and walking a little further. We don’t tend to use public transport, even in London, as we find we see and learn so much more by walking.

Vienna made us both feel so festive we stopped at our local Christmas tree farm on our way home from the airport. 

Hubby keeps referring to himself as the ‘Romance Ninja’ now…. I think he’s hoping the name will stick.