Browsing Category



Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

These handy tips will make your family camping trip easier…

Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

Despite strong winds (thanks Storm Francis) and the very unpredictable British weather, we have just survived our first family camping trip. I had my doubts, but I actually really enjoyed myself, and more importantly my 21 month old loved it!

I feel I must point out that we did cheat slightly in the sense that we were “glamping” and not “camping.” We were staying in a bell tent kitted out with beds, pillows and a warm duvet and had our own portaloo next door to our tent. But you have to start somewhere and I feel having these little luxuries eased us nicely into our first family camping experience, especially since we didn’t know how things would pan out with a toddler.

After having returned with smiles on our faces and happy memories to treasure, I wanted to share some tips that we learned during our stay through observation and through talking to fellow campmates, that will make camping with a toddler even more successful the second time round (and hopefully the first-time round, if this is your first family camping trip).

1. Check your pitch location

We didn’t know the location of our tent until the day before arrival and by this time it was too late to change as the campsite was fully booked. We were located next to the campsite’s outdoor bar, which would have been perfect had we not had our little boy with us. However, because the music from the bar didn’t finish until 11pm we had a very over excited toddler that didn’t want to go to bed because there was too much fun going on outside. And we couldn’t blame him as we wanted to be out there enjoying said music too and not inside the tent trying to get him to sleep! My advice would be to request a pitch that is in a quiet section of the campsite. Also make sure you ask about the on-site amenities (shower block, toilets, shop etc.) and how close to them you are.

2. Have a packing strategy

Organising  your camping supplies before you go makes all the difference when you arrive at the campsite. Buy some see-through plastic boxes and label them with your essential items, such as kitchen supplies, toys, food and snacks and bed and bathtime. Then when you need something you can see what’s in the box and you can locate it straight away. Very handy when you have a hungry toddler screaming at you for chocolate!

Pack waterproof clothing / puddle suits for your family camping trip.

3. Waterproof clothing is essential

My son loves to jump in puddles, play in the mud, eat mud and basically get as dirty as possible! So if you’re toddler is anything like mine, wet weather clothing is essential. Must-have items are puddle suits / rain suits, wellies, a spare pair of shoes and extra socks (at least three pairs extra). I found the key to dressing a toddler is layers, which can be easily added or removed. During our trip it was raining one minute and glorious sunshine the next, so layering was everything!

4. Buy a baby sleeping bag

Baby sleeping bags (also known as grobags), are a must-have when camping. They keep your little one cosy and snug on cold nights but are also brilliant in hot weather. They are available in a range of togs from 0.5 tog (for very warm weather) to 3.5 tog, which are warmly padded and suitable for temperatures below 18 degrees. You can also buy ones with detachable sleeves.

5. Pack plenty of snacks

If you are camping with a toddler, snacks are essential. Crackers, granola bars, pre-cut fruit (cut at home before we left) and rice cakes are all easy to transport and make a great distraction if you are trying to persuade your toddler into their pram, or from jumping in yet another puddle. I’d also highly recommend buying a pocket snack highchair. Our friends kindly lent us theirs. They are lightweight, compact and come with different seat height positions and a snack tray that can also be removed. It made lunch and dinner so much easier as he couldn’t escape!

6. Remember kitchen essentials

If you need to warm your toddler’s milk make sure you pack a travel stove and kettle. Some campsites have an on-site kitchen where you can heat food and milk, but some don’t so make sure you check before you travel. We also took with us a collapsible washing up bowl, folding picnic table and bottles of water. Also add a cool box to your packing list. They are ideal for storing your toddler’s milk, spread, fruit and snacks.

7. Clean hands regularly

Because of Covid-19 the more you can do to make your trip as safe as possible the better, so make sure you pack hand sanitiser, liquid soap and baby wipes. We filled a washing up bowl outside of our tent for hand washing and cleaning teeth. 

8. Take toys

We took some of Jack’s favourite toys with us, which were invaluable for when it rained and we had to take cover. A few toy cars and some of his favourite books kept him entertained and we also took his favourite cuddly toy to make bedtime more familiar.

9. Buy a gazebo

We saw lots of families with gazebos and will definitely be purchasing one for our next trip. They are great for storing your camping chairs, stove, water and wellies and it means you don’t have to pile all of your belongings into your tent, giving you a lot more space. They also offer protection from the rain, and sun on hot summer days. 

10. Make a list and check it twice!

I made a packing list before we left and I am so glad I did. Baby brain is definitely a thing post pregnancy too! Make sure to include all the essentials your toddler needs, such as nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, changing mat, sippy cup and comfort blanket. Also pack a first aid kid, just in case, including plasters, antiseptic, infant paracetamol and nappy rash cream. Piriton is also good to have to, for insect bites or any other irritants.   

Tips for a happy family camping holiday


My last extra bonus tip is to HAVE FUN and embrace the outdoors. Also accept that, especially on the first night, your toddler may not stick to their usual bedtime routine. So make sure you pack extra coffee too! 

Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

My Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

If you’re planning on visiting Bournemouth over the school holidays, or live in Bournemouth and the surrounding area and wondering what to do with the kids, then check out my top 5 days out suitable for toddlers.

Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

I love planning days out. Which is very lucky for my husband who hates it. The main reason being because I like to have something to look forward to. I would love to be one of those spontaneous mums that comes up with the most awesome ideas on the spot, but alas that is not me. I spend hours on trip advisor, researching and looking for endorsement on the best places to go. This does mean I am  a great person to tap up for recommendations – whether it be restaurants, family-friendly travel destinations, pushchairs, baby books and more. 

And that is why I wanted to share with you my top 5 days out if you’re visiting or live locally in Bournemouth. My little boy is 20 months old and these have all been an absolute hit and don’t cost the earth either.

Wimborne Model Town Railway
Wimborne Model Town Railway

1. Wimborne Model Town & Gardens
If you are looking for somewhere to go for a few hours one morning or afternoon, then I highly recommend Wimborne Model Town & Gardens. It is a little person’s dream. The scale model village features over 100 shop fronts from the 1950s, along with beautifully manicured gardens. My boy Jack, loved peering in the little shop front windows – from bakeries and banks to cafes, car show rooms and even a church.  The biggest hit was the model railway. So much so I couldn’t get my son to leave and had to bribe him with cake from the Tea Room (I highly recommend the Dorset Apple Cake). The railway features lots of trains chugging along, including Thomas the Tank Engine and even has a cliff railway and cable car. Tickets are £6 per adult and under 3’s are free. What’s more if you pay £10 you can buy a Season Ticket offering unlimited admission until the 1st November 2020. 

2. Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park
Farmer Palmer’s is a fantastic place to visit and just over a 15 minute drive from Wimborne Model Village. So if you’re feeling adventurous you could visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Farmer Palmer’s features traditional farm animals (goats, horses, alpacas, pigs, chicken and ducks) together with popular pet animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs. It was so cute walking round the farm with Jack and hearing him make all the animal noises. His favourites currently being ‘neigh’ and ‘baaaa’. They also run pig racing (who doesn’t want to see that) and goat feeding, which my son loved. There is also a great play park, sand and splash zone, pedal tractors and pedal go-karts. If you fancy a sit-down the cafe serves reasonably priced food and delicious cakes. I was extremely impressed with all the measures Farmer Palmer’s have in place due to Covid-19, with hand sanitiser stations throughout the farm and lots of outdoor sinks for hand washing. They are also currently restricting numbers so you have to pre-book a morning or afternoon slot via their website

3. Moors Valley Country Park
Moors Valley Country Park & Forest is top of my list for a family day out, so much so that we recently purchased a season ticket (£62 for one car), which I will definitely be making the most of.  I absolutely love it there, as does my son and miniature dachshund. Being a dog owner, it’s great finding somewhere that is dog-friendly so we can enjoy a day out with all the family. It’s free to visit the park, you just have to pay for parking. Moors Valley has miles and miles of paths and tracks to explore, but the trail toddlers and kids will enjoy the most is the Play Trail – featuring amazing, large wooden carved play equipment, from ‘Bewildernest’ and ‘Giant Wood Ants Nest’, to ‘Hawk House’ and the ‘The Snake Pit’. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 only three play areas are currently open: ‘Spider’, ‘Crocodile Crossing’ and ‘Enchanted Woods’, but these still provide hours of fun for little ones. Half away along the Play Trail you will find the Tree Top Trail (try saying these three words quickly in succession… it’s hard isn’t it)! The 200 metre wooden walkway gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of the forest. It’s worth noting it’s not suitable for pushchairs so your little one needs to be walking, or carried in a sling/baby carrier. The highlight for my little boy is The Moors Valley Railway. Starting from Kingsmere Station you can travel along the banks of the Moors Lake and follow a double loop around the play area incorporating three tunnels, and a bridge. When we are exploring other areas of the park, as soon as my son hears the train, he cries “Choo Choo” and frantically tries to find his way back to the station. There are also two play areas, one designed for older children featuring a zip line and giant space net and the other for younger children built on sand (so don’t forget your bucket and spade), with gentle slides, swings, wooden Wendy Houses and train. There is a lovely picnic area by the lake and train station with socially distanced benches. For the more adventurous you can also hire bikes, try your hand at Go Ape and explore the forest on Segways.

4. Poole Park
Poole Park surrounds Poole Harbour and is a lovely place to visit on a sunny day. There are three free car parks, which makes this day out completely free (unless you want to treat yourself to an ice cream or snack in the café). The park features perfectly manicured gardens and there are plenty of scenic spots to enjoy a picnic. My little boy loves feeding the ducks and playing in the park – especially because it features a large wooden play train! You can also enjoy a variety of watersports, from windsurfing to kayaking and rowing. It’s dog-friendly too.

5. Bournemouth Beach
A trip to Bournemouth is not complete without a visit to its award-winning beaches. As a local I tend to keep my distance during the summer months as it can get very busy, but there is no denying that Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of golden sands offer a fab day out for all the family. There are five different areas of beach to choose from (Bournemouth Central, Durley Chine, Alum Chine, Boscombe and Southbourne). If you want to be near the main restaurants and attractions then head to Bournemouth Central, but there are a number of cafés and kiosks along all of the different sections. Bournemouth Council have just released a BCP Beach Check App for Apple and Android devices so you can monitor which sections of the beach are busiest throughout the day. Perfect for planners like me who enjoy quieter beach days.

I hope you enjoy my recommendations.  I’d love to hear what you think if you do visit.

Motherhood, Travel

Top 10 Tips for Travelling with a Baby Under 1

Worried about your first family holiday abroad with your newborn? Don’t be! Here are some top tips for travelling with a baby under one, from a first-time-mum, to make your trip stress-free!

First Family Holiday Travelling with a Baby Abroad
Jack and I on our first family holiday to Majorca

I have just returned from our first family holiday to Majorca with our baby boy Jack, who was just under 7 months when we flew. I was so worried about travelling with a newborn baby, that I nearly didn’t go on holiday, but my husband and parents-in-law convinced me and I am so glad they did, as we had the most amazing time!

My main concerns were what to pack and how to cope with only taking hand luggage and I needn’t have worried about either of those things.

If you are a first-time mum like me and have booked your first holiday abroad fear not. Here are my top 10 tips for travelling with a baby under one, that I hope you find useful.

  1. Choose somewhere baby-friendly
    If you are going on your first holiday with your baby I highly recommend picking accommodation that is baby-friendly so that you don’t have to worry about taking lots of additional baby items and equipment with you. We chose an Airbnb that had a travel cot, highchair, baby towel, baby bath and seat, which meant we only had to pack Jack’s baby monitor, which saved a lot of space when packing!
  2. Check with your airline before you fly
    Before you fly check your baggage allowance and weight limits with your airline. If you are going away for a week or two, taking hand luggage only is totally doable. I didn’t think it would be possible, but we came back with so many of my son’s unworn clothes and other items that I would totally do hand luggage only again for a short trip away. Ryan Air allow you to take two items of baby equipment with you free of charge. If you plan on hiring a car when you’re abroad I highly recommend taking your own car seat with its own travel bag/case, not only for your own peace of mind, but also because you can pack so much of your baby’s things in with the car seat and not have to worry about the weight allowance! We packed our son’s milk, nappies, toys, food and even a paddling pool in with the car seat and we didn’t have any trouble whatsoever because it goes in oversized baggage in the hold. This meant that we could pack all of Jack’s clothes in his baby bag. Ryan Air allow you to take a 5kg for your baby in addition to your own cabin bag, and because baby items are so small, you can fit loads in!
  3. Don’t worry about food and liquids at airport security
    I am currently breastfeeding my son and was worried about the amount of milk I would be allowed to take onboard with me. When travelling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey. We were delayed four hours with Ryan Air and I am so glad I had a full bag of milk and food because the airport we were flying from (Bournemouth), didn’t have a pharmacy like Boots to buy anything for a baby once you were through security. I packed baby wafers, food pouches and four bottles of milk for Jack and didn’t have an issue. I also had a clear plastic bag with teething gel, toothpaste, antibacterial hand gel, nasal spray and Calpol, in addition to my own toiletry bag and again had no problems at airport security.
  4. Don’t overpack
    We were only in Majorca for a week and I totally overpacked! If you are going somewhere warm you really don’t need to take that many outfits with you. We stayed in a villa with washing facilities so even if Jack had an accident, we could easily wash his clothes. If travelling somewhere hot I would say you only need 5 body suits, two rompers, a lightweight baby sleeping bag, some shorts, a couple of baby bibs, a few muslins, a sunhat and sunglasses. These items will take up hardly any room in your baby changing bag, which will leave space for toys, nappies and wipes.
  5. Have a bottle, or boob at the ready
    Babies can suffer with their ears on take off and landing so have a bottle, or your boob ready! I breastfed Jack on take-off and landing and he didn’t suffer at all and it also distracted him, which was great as we had a very fast and bumpy landing that our son didn’t even notice!
  6. Take insect repellent
    Before you fly check to see if the country you are travelling to has an issue with mosquitoes. I didn’t think about this before we flew to Majorca and we all got bitten. The first night Jack had about 7 bites all over him and I was so worried. Luckily we found a pharmacy who recommended a bite cream for babies, which worked wonders, so I would highly recommend taking a plugin and bug spray and cream with you just incase.
  7. Pack a room thermometer
    I always worry about Jack being too hot or too cold, so I am so glad we took a room thermometer with us to Majorca so I knew what tog sleeping bag to put Jack in at night. This gave me peace of mind that he wouldn’t overheat. Also quite a lot of places abroad don’t have air conditioning. If this is the case then I advise opening a window to cool down the room before you put your baby to sleep. You can also get room thermometers that double up as a baby bath thermometer, which saves on packing an extra item.
  8. Be flexible
    If you want to enjoy your holiday, please don’t be too concerned with your usual routine. If you are flying somewhere with a big time difference it will be very hard to keep to your usual timings so you must try and be a little flexible. I was amazed at how quickly Jack adapted to his new surroundings. Majorca is an hour in front of the UK. We usually put Jack to bed at 7pm, so in Majorca we put him to bed nearer 8pm and he went down easily. Also when we were out and about we fed him lunch when we stopped for lunch, which was a lot later than we would usually have lunch in the UK and he didn’t mind at all. I think they are so intrigued by their new surroundings that they forget about food! The same with naps, we didn’t stick to our usual nap times, we just followed our son’s cues and if he started rubbing his eyes or getting agitated we put him down for a nap.
  9. Take a sunshade
    If you are going somewhere hot and sunny I highly recommend you taking a sun shade for your pushchair with UPF 50+ protection. Not only will it protect your baby’s newborn skin from the sun, wind and insects, but it also acts as a great black-out blind for their naps.
  10. Just do it!
    Don’t be afraid about flying with your newborn baby. Now that I have done it once, I would do it again and again as we had the most amazing time and I am annoyed with myself that I worried so much in the lead-up to the holiday. So if you are umming and ahing about whether or not to go on your first holiday with your newborn baby just do it! You won’t regret it!