Travelling long haul with a little monkey.. 

We did it. We travelled half way round the world (literally) with our 13 month old monkey and survived to tell the tale! When people warn you that holidays post baby are ‘just not the same’ they sure aren’t lying.. So pre warned and feeling anxious I held my expectations low and packed our bags (all five of them), our Pram, our baby Bjorn, crap loads of mosquito repellent and enough kiddie snacks to feed a small army, and we (reluctantly) set of for our month long adventure.. Oh and we also packed two aunties for good luck (and babysitting services). 

We travelled to Bali, the Gili islands and Dubai and were fortunate enough to stay in some amazing places, in pure pure luxury. I have a months worth of antectodes to share, but I won’t bore you with allll the detail but I do want to share my family travel do’s and don’ts.. so here are my top travel tips:

  • Travel light! I thought I had but it’s so hard to travel light with a baby when your away for a month.. luckily as the nappies and snacks were consumed our bags became lighter and lighter. But we still couldn’t avoid having 2 large cases, a small trolley and two bags and a baby bag to lug around with us. We moved around every 3-4 days so this was the biggest nuisance and biggest learning for me, I will ALWAYS travel lighter in future. The icing on the cake was arriving on the small island of gili trawangan after a horrendous two and a half hour rocky boat journey watching everyone else embark into the sea to get to the shore with their backpacks.. followed by our gang and our collective haul that had to be carried on the poor crew’s shoulder to the shore! To say we were embarrassed was an understatement.. we then sat on the beach for over an hour with our large pile of luggage waiting for a gili taxi to get us to our hotel (also known as a horse and carriage). The ‘drivers’ would take one look at us and our excessive luggage and quote the most ridiculous price. In the end we caved in and paid over the odds and had to get an additional taxi just for our luggage.. I just felt sorry for the poor horse! So anyway it’s safe to say we learnt the hard way, so trust me on this.. travel light! 
  • Include a stopover. I usually advise against stopovers, I usually prefer to pay more and fly direct. But when flying long haul having to stop anyway and with a little one in tow, I was so thankful for our stopovers. We stopped in Dubai both ways, three nights on the way out, and four nights on the return journey. It does add time on to your vacation but when travelling long distances with babies or children it’s a must. We were able to freshen up and relax before our 9+ hour flight from Bali to Dubai and felt like we had a mini holiday.. same on the return journey and your not returning home completely exhausted. It was a win win for us. My sister and cousin joined us at Dubai airport having come straight off their UK to Dubai flight, joining us for our flight to bali.. and let me tell you a few hours in they were like zombies! 
  • Take a night flight. This was a god send for us.. we took two night flights, UK- Dubai (approx 7 hours)  and also Denpasar (Bali) to Dubai (approx 9 hours) and my little monkey slept the majority of both flights which meant I could too. You do arrive at your destination having not had a comfortable full nights sleep but we found Sami was still sleepy enough to have a long nap and it was better then the alternative which is to keep a baby entertained for the best part of 9 hours with limited space and limited resources. We purposefully didn’t take a night flight on our return home so that we arrived at Samis bedtime and could get back into a routine as quickly as possible. 
  • Don’t stick to a rigid routine. At home Sami goes to bed and has naps following a strict routine. But with a huge time difference, we decided that he would be adjusting to the new times anyway so we may as well mix up his routine slightly so he could go to bed when I did. This did meant we had a grumpy baby some evenings but the trade off was we got to have evenings out and about instead of me having to sit in the dark and silence at 7pm every night. Sami quickly adjusted and napped on the go or would have a late nap before going out for dinner, but i won’t lie to you and say it was all a breeze. We had a grumpy overtired baby on many occasions as sleeping on the go is not easier for a little one when it’s so hot and everything’s so new and exciting. 
  • Go to a laundromat. I had taken travel wash and optimistically planned to wash clothes (mainly my little boys), but I should have known this would never happen. Especially when travelling for a longer holiday, take less clothes and get them washed so that you CAN travel lighter (see point on travelling light). Don’t use the hotel’s laundry service as we made this mistake once before and paid a small fortune, find a local laundrette and have a nice meal with the money you’ll save. In all honestly my baby mainly wore nappies and nothing else so I really didn’t need to pack so many clothes for him!
  • Take a solid travel system. We opted to take a cheap stroller as I was worried about my beautiful bugaboo getting ruined on the plane.. big mistake. Not only was it not comfy for my monkey to nap in (which he ended up doing loads), it was hard to assemble and dissemble which resulted in some embarrassing moments in the first few days. On one occasion we had the stroller fully assembled on the front seat of the taxi 😂😂. 
  • Hire a car.. and a car seat. The whole time we were in Indonesia we hired a driver and a people carrier, but there was no option for a car seat. And let me tell you car journeys were HARD. My little monkey was agitated, upset, inconsolable and uncomfortable for nearly every journey, and he would only remain in my arms which meant car journeys were not fun for me either. When we got to Dubai we hired a car and seat and the rest is history. Car journeys became a chance for me to put my feet up and we had a happy (and sleeping) baby. 
  • Pack a plane bag. With all your essentials for baby including snacks, nappies, spare clothes, and lots of little toys. We used the same packed bag for all our outings and it made life so much easier. Don’t forget it’s always cooler on planes so take blankets and layers for your little one. 
  • Take your gro-bag/ usual blankets. Even if travelling to a hot climate, remember due to air conditioning it’s cool at night, so don’t forget to take your usual gro bag or blankets. 
  • Feed baby on take off/landing. I was lucky enough to still be breastfeeding my 13 month old, so I fed on take off and landing to help with his poor little ears. A bottle would have the same affect. Breastfeeding also helped with my little one not getting ill by the local food, as he was still not fully established onto solids until 14 months old! 
  • Don’t over do it. Although we fit a lot into our holiday we had lots of time to play with so didn’t have too many plans for any one day. This is essential for not getting stressed and feeling like you’ve had some relaxation time. We did however move around every 3-4 days and this involved long car, boat or plane journeys. This is something I would not recommend. In hindsight I would stay put in one location or maybe have picked 2 or 3 max. We managed 8 different locations! Hectic was not the word! 
  • Don’t expect too much. Lower your expectations, holidaying with children is not going to be the same and as long as you are prepared for this and set your expectations right, you will enjoy yourself. I had set my expectations low, but travelling with other young people, and in a large group for many parts of the trip, I was the only one with a baby or child so it did suck a lot of the time. Especially as my monkey was super clingy and wanted mummy only, so daddy and his aunties could only do so much. If you are travelling in a group, I would strongly advise to travel with other families so you can all plan like minded activities and you don’t feel like the odd one out. 

We had a lovely time, saw some beautiful sites, stayed in some lush places and have some great memories but I won’t pretend it was all fabulous. It was HARD. It does come down to your babies personality, and my baby loves routine, is easily irritated and is very dependant and clingy to his mummy (mainly down to breastfeeding). Some babies would adapt a lot easier and cope with the changes more smoothly, but I guess you don’t really know how they’ll cope until you get there. For me, coming home was like a holiday and I was so happy to be home, but I will cherish the memories, I just don’t think I’ll be travelling long haul again. A 17 hour journey is perhaps a little much for a baby, but there are plenty of destinations MUCH closer to home for future trips.. I’ll leave you with some snaps.. 

    Countdown is on.. 

    It’s been over a year since I last got on a plane and woke up somewhere beautiful (I literally sleep the entire plane journey). Before my little monkey arrived, I liked to travel. A lot.. Like A LOT a lot. For me, not going away for over a year, is a really big deal. 

    So, as you can imagine I have really itchy feet, and after months of planning and day dreaming, our first family holiday is nearly here. When I say nearly I mean less than three months away… 

    It’s going to be completely different traveling with a one year old, and I have so many worries. Will he last the long haul flight, will the food/water make him Ill, how will he cope with the time difference and will we actually get any time to relax?! 

    For now, I’m just going to put these to the back of my mind and continue to be excited.. If anyone has any tips on travelling with little ones then please shout! 

    Three months to go.. 


    Our first mini holiday 

    When I first found out I was pregnant, one of the things I knew I would miss the most was travelling. Since my early 20’s I have been lucky enough to enjoy four to five holidays a year, and have been steadily ticking off the bucket list. I knew that once I ‘settled down’ and started a family, the trips abroad would have to take a backseat. 

    We have a big trip planned for next summer for my sister in laws destination wedding, but until then, we will not be leaving anywhere on a jet plane anytime soon. This will be the longest I have gone without a holiday. So until then, I am hoping to make the most of things to see and do in the UK. 

    My sister turned thirty this September, and to celebrate (or commiserate) she wanted a trip away with us all. My sister and cousins have always been my travel buddy’s (we are lucky enough to have five girls all born within 12 months of each other). But, my sisters birthday was just two months after my due date, and much to her disappointment I told her many months ago that a trip abroad with such a small baby was not happening (not sure what we would have done in New York with a newborn anyway). 

    Being the ‘organised one’ I have always been responsible for our travel plans, so as always I was in charge. I searched for a location no further than one and a half hours from home, and came up with a lovely lakeside lodge in the Cotswolds. The lodge accommodated 10 adults and backed out onto a lovely lake, and had a outdoor BBQ space, which fitted my sisters requirements perfectly. 

    Don’t underestimate how much you need to take for a long weekend away with a baby. Luckily we had enough cars to fit all of Sami’s things, but we left one vital thing.. The baby monitor. But we used our imaginations and set up a Skype call, which meant I could relax for a couple of hours in the evenings.

    The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed some lovely meals out, aswell as a BBQ and some family games (my family are geeks). And of course, me and my sister had a squabble. No weekend is complete without this. But we were best friends again the next minute, as always.

    We took Sami for a lovely long walk around the Cotswolds Water Park and Beach. This was a lovely place filled with families going for walks, enjoying a picnic or a BBQ, or taking part in water sports. I made a mental note to return here one day when Sami is older and has siblings. This was the first time Sami enjoyed a walk and actually stayed awake (he usually sleeps through), he was amazed by the colours and loved taking in the new sights.

    All in all it was a lovely weekend, and I still managed to enjoy it with a 9 week old baby. The distance was just about manageable, I am glad we didn’t venture any further. The amazing weather and beautiful scenery made it feel like we were so much further from home, I cannot wait to explore this area again in the future.. And for now I have had my ‘holiday fix’ until our big one next year.. Only ten months to go.



    Pinch punch it’s my favourite month..

    Hello September! September has always been one of my favourite months.. You can still smell summer yet it also marks new beginnings; a new school year, the start of autumn, and for me another year older (less exciting now that I am approaching thirty). 

    We have reached a few milestones in the last few weeks. After a week of trying and failing, Sami finally took my expressed milk in a bottle which resulted in a very happy mummy. We really struggled at first and tried various bottles. In the end the  Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottles came out on top. 

    Here’s my advice on getting your baby to take the bottle.. Try to give them it when they are not very hungry (sounds strange but if baby is starving they are more likely to refuse the bottle), calm, happy, and when mummy is not in sight (I had my mum and sister on hand). It took a hard week of many attempts and use of different bottles but we got their in the end 😄. 

    This has allowed me to have a few nights off and also peace of mind if I have to leave Sami or we have to travel. It has also meant that me and the husband got to enjoy some time out for our one year anniversary. The husband suprised me with a meal at the resturant who catered our wedding. We never got to enjoy the food on our wedding day, so this was a lovely suprise. He also spoilt me with shoes and earrings and tickets to see The Bodyguard Musical, which meant another lovely night out. Oh did I mention I also got to enjoy my best friends hen night. 

    Another first is that Sami can now fall asleep by himself (can doesn’t always mean will) and we have set up the video monitor which makes the world of difference in the evenings. Sami’s bedtime is 9pm which comes around so quickly every day. I am hoping to bring this earlier gradually in the next few weeks. 

    Sami also had his 8 week round of immunisations which he HATED.  He hates infacol too, and gripe water. Basically he only likes mummy’s milk! Luckily, his ‘colic’ (still not convinced by what colic is) is getting better and instead of hours of crying every evening, he now has a few unsettled periods a day, but they don’t last long.

    Things me and Sami are loving right now:

    • Mummy loves cups of tea 
    • Mummy loves short afternoon naps
    • Mummy loves Sami’s smiles every morning
    • Sami loves his play gym
    • Sami loves the sound of a whistle 
    • Sami loves seeing mummy’s face in the morning 

    Sami is blissfully napping while I write this. Little does he know mummy is starting to stress about how much she needs to do tomorrow in preparation for our weekend away. It’s my sisters 30th birthday, and to celebrate, 8 of us are spending the weekend in a lakeside lodge in the Cotswolds. This will be Sami’s first holiday. I am excited but also exhausted and not sure how much I will be able to enjoy it. Will keep you posted.. 

    First trimester milestone- treat yourself.. 

    If like me, you found you spent the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy sleeping, puking, sleeping some more (didn’t know I could sleep so much), puking some more, and generally feeling nauseated, you’ll be pleased to see the end of your first trimester. 

    Everyone talks about a sudden burst of energy that you’ll experience as you progress into the second trimester. I’ll be honest I waited and waited and this never happened, I continued to feel nauseated for some time longer but gradually I found myself sleeping less and less and started to get my life back-happy days 🙂 

    This is the perfect time to treat yourself and do something that may be more difficult later in your pregnancy or when the baby arrives. My advice would be to get away for a long weekend, and that’s exactly what I did. 

    At 15 weeks, myself and four of the girls booked a city break to Berlin. Being January, it was bitterly cold, so we wrapped up warm, packed some comfy winter boots and spent a lovely four days sightseeing and taking in everything Berlin had to offer. We did a hell of a lot of walking and I honestly feel like this did me some good after 14+ weeks of not moving from my sofa. 

    I feel this was the perfect time to get away, I had the energy to keep up with the others, I was no longer experiencing morning sickness and I had no bump or extra weight to carry. 

    We crammed in all of the ‘must do’s’ including the Brandenburger TorBerlin CathedralThe Reichstag building, and The holocaust memorial, which all brought back memories of school History lessons. Not to mention, we visited many of the numerous museums, my favourites being The DDR museum (very interactive and family friendly but expect long queues) and Topography of Terror (prepare to come out feeling truly sad). 

    Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of history, but I also found this to be quite depressing, as insightful as it was. I was quite happy spending some time relaxing and indulging in the food (much better then I expected). Therefore my top three ‘must do’s’ if your ever in Berlin are:

    1. Afternoon tea at Hotel Adlon: We spent an entire afternoon here in the lobby lounge with unlimited tea (huge selection) and unlimited cakes and pastries whilst being serenaded by the gentle sounds of the piano playing. Being the foodies that we are, we truly enjoyed this on our last day, and thankful to cousin S for the recommendation. At 42 euros per person it really was well worth it!
    2. B flat jazz club: We had a really fun night here, the night we went there was an American band and Mo-Town singer playing, we thoroughly enjoyed the live music and we booked a table in advance which happened to be right at the front ( would recommend booking in advance as lots of people were standing). 
    3. Friedrichstadt- Palace: We saw the show ‘The Wyld’. Without saying too much this was a rather strange but enjoyable experience. I would compare it to a more family friendly version of the Moulin Rouge, with dancers, singers, animals and entertainers. The venue was simply stunning and it’s worth a trip if your stuck for what to do in the evening. 

    I really enjoyed my long weekend away and now bumpy is so close to making its entrance, the prospect of another seems very far in the future. I’m glad I treated myself and would recommend all future mummy’s treat themselves in some way too, when they pass the 12 week milestone.