Those baby milestones. Special firsts captured the moment they occur. Then, once the photos have been taken, video captured and messages sent to granny and grandpa to let them know of this great feat just performed by your amazing little human, they’re written straight in the book.

siblings second child second best

Fast forward to second or third baby, you might catch them doing it out of the corner of your eye and offer fleeting congratulations, but immediately your mind gets switched back to the everyday business of disarming the toddler who is coming at your little one ready to wheel a Thomas train across their head.
siblings second child second best

I worked out of the local library the other day and next to me was the sing and sign group, heaving with little tiny dots all gazing around at the beaming faces of mummies enthusiastically singing verses of Old MacDonald and energetically being lifted during the chorus of Humpty Dumpty.

Second child, second best?

It dawned on my that I don’t think I ever quite made it to a single group designed for just babies. Sure, George comes along to the great community groups & play dates I go to for Henry and he gets on with whatever activity set out for the toddlers, but gone are the days I can dedicate to Baby Sensory or baby massage. Those days, which at the time seem pretty difficult and all consuming, now feel like I’m having a day off when I only have George with me, and guilty that I should be doing more than only looking after one small person.

siblings second child second best

But there’s something to be said for subsequent children. Not only are we as parents so much more relaxed with our youngest and therefore in general, but our’s spends his days curiously watching and learning from his big brother; being entertained by all the fun and interesting things he finds him doing, inquisitively looking and listening. On the occasion Henry isn’t with us George is totally lost without him, he almost pines for him.

 

Yes, I might be able to count the number of new outfits our second child owns on one hand, and maybe I did only get him weighed about three times because it just wasn’t practical to drag a wild 2 year old along with me. But by no means does that make him second best. He is loved. As much as our hearts can love anything, and if not more because he has his big brother ever doting on him, caring for him when he has a bump, who knows when to tell me he’s doing something unsafe. Learning from us the unconditional love we have for them both.

siblings second child second best

I still find him fascinating to watch. The way he chews his food within his gummy mouth, each mouthful an adventure. A tired yawn, which I find to be one of the cutest things he does. Watching his face light up when Henry excites him with the smallest of attention and the uncontrollable excitement, hands clapping, when he knows food is being given to him.

siblings second child second best
Those memories may not be written down in that book, the one I am pretty sure has been coloured all over by his older sibling, but they are ingrained into my mind. Cherished pieces of the jigsaw of what makes us whole and the family that we are because of him completing us. And I’m not sure any book can convey those memories.

As the time got closer for our adventures in North America to begin, one of my main concerns after Henry’s overall safety abroad was the flight. Flying with a baby isn’t exactly something that fills any parent with much joy, after all. But it is a necessity of course, so my search began trawling through the internet to find tips to help me prepare for our 9.5hr flight to Chicago with a 10 month old.

tips for flying with a baby or child

Our little Henry is by far the most strong willed baby I am sure I’ve ever met, and I’m sure this will stand him in good stead as an adult, however as a baby it means a situation such as our impending flight and our having to restrain him for most of the waking day was a serious worry for me. He doesn’t sit still for more than 30 seconds at home, gets bored of toys immediately and never watches TV. And when he is made to do something he’s not keen on, my gosh do we know about it! (a phase, right??) As you can imagine not the ideal ingredients for a stress-free flight.

We flew with American Airlines, despite booking with British Airways, and I would be complaining about their terrible service with a frown, lack of refreshments, being made to wait an hour to disembark while Henry wailed his little heart out, the seat belt light being on for 4 hours and constantly being told Henry needed to be restrained  despite zero turbulance…IF they had not given us the bulkhead. This was a Godsend!! I had been frantically trying to get it secured on advanced check in which I was continuously calling & being passed around to no avail. But I could have kissed the check in lady at the airport after she managed to secure it for us as I knew just how much difference this would make to us. It meant he had loads of room to crawl about on the floor and play with lots of exciting things whilst flirting with the ladies on our row.

Setting off from Heathrow!

 

If you are reading this, I am sure you too are looking for help and advice so here are my tips for what helped us with a relatively stress-free flight!

Tips For Flying With A Baby Or Family;

Don’t let the pre-flight stress get to you;

The thought of flying with a baby, or taking a baby on holiday may scare you from even attempting it until they are older. But let’s be honest, a trip down the road isn’t what it used to be when you think of all the paraphernalia you need to remember, how much milk or food they may need and timing it around feeds and nap times. So don’t be put off by it, if you set your expectation that it’s going to be horrendous, then I am positive you will be pleasantly surprised. most airlines really cater well for families with young children.

Get the right flight;
The ideal flight time for long haul is over night to fit in with your baby’s schedule. Unfortunately there wasn’t this option for us so we had to go for a midday flight. try your hardest to get a non stop flight as you not only want to get there as soon as possible, but having to get your child in and out of the aircraft, through terminals and customs adds so much more pressure to you all.

Tips For Flying With A Baby.

Book the “best” seats;
These may not be the best for everyone else, but if you can book ahead then go for seat at each end of a 3 person row (if the flight isn’t full it’s highly unlikely a solo traveller will book the middle seat) this will give you more room to play with and them to play in! If the flight is full then book the aisle if you have a baby who wants to walk or crawl everywhere, or the window seat if you want privacy to nurse or a leaning post to set up camp for them to sleep on you. You then have the added bonus of having a bassinet which clips on for them to sleep in, but beware this isn’t a failsafe; Henry was too big at 10m so they aren’t going to fit most babies above around 9 months.

Take a bag of tricks;
Buy new, small toys to entertain your little one; the excitement of these being unplayed with before may keep them entertained for longer and keep them small so you can take quite a few.
Pack as many snacks as you can, all sealed so they don’t get taken away at customs! Brands such as Organix and Kiddylicious make some organic, sugar free selections; I bought everything on offer as Henry certainly has an appetite on him.

Milk is your saviour;
Regardless of if you’re breast or bottle, milk will soothe and satisfy your baby throughout the flight. Make sure you have it at the ready for take off and landing as it will take away the pain of their ears adjusting to the cabin pressure. I’m still breastfeeding Henry and my nipples were shredded by the end of the flight and there was certainly no milk left, but they definitely helped with his ears. A dummy or pacifier would work too if your baby takes one. Make sure you pack more milk than you think they could need as it having too much isn’t half as much of an issue than running out! – while we’re on this, make sure you pack more of everything you need such as nappies, snacks & clothes as you never know how long you may be delayed along the line.

Dress them for comfort;
It may sound obvious, but you really don’t want to be fussing with intricate outfits with tights and shoes or similar when dealing with a dirty nappy in a miniature aircraft toilet, so make sure your dress baby in something easy and comfortable.

Tips For Flying With A Baby.

Take the right equipment;
Some people choose to take a car seat to fly; which would mean the child will need their own seat on the plane, but for us that just looked like far too much to pack and carry with us, so we are renting one along with the car once we arrive at the destination.
Depending on how many flights you are taking (6 in our case) your stroller is going to need to withstand some serious throwing about. Chances are you also aren’t going to want to travel with your big, special pram from home. We bought a Mamas & Papas Barnie stroller for the trip, which compared to my beloved Sola pram I really don’t like much, but it is lightweight, small and ideal for taking on holiday. These days pushchairs like the BabyZen YoYo can fold small enough to put into the overhead locker so you know they aren’t going to get trashed in the hold.

I really hope these tips help you relax a little about your flight, honestly I was really panicking about ours but it was brilliant in the end. Henry actually only slept for 45 minutes in the whole 9.5 hours and I can still say it went really well, we were so proud of him.

Happy holidaying!!

tips for flying with a baby or child

 

It’s no surprise that when we were telling people of our plans to take our 10 month old baby traveling we were met with a lot of shocked expressions and “wow you’re brave” comments. And of course we were concerned about certain aspects of it and knew we’d need some tips for traveling with a baby. But I can honestly say that it was so so easy. It really wasn’t any different to being back home, apart from adjusting to the time zones and a couple of difficult bed times. So if you are in the position to be able to take your baby on a long holiday then please don’t be put off.

TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A ABABY OR CHILD

The flight;
I wrote some tips here on how to survive the flight. During our first 9 hour flight Henry only slept for 45 minutes so we certainly needed some serious distraction tools. For us snacks worked better than toys. We were able to make a box of raisins last about an hour at one point! We took 6 flights in total and Henry was brilliant, so much better than I anticipated in a confined space at funny times of the day. My main tip would be to try to get the bulkhead so that you have a lot more room by your feet for them to have freedom and you can get the bassinet for them to sleep in if you can get them down. If you expect the worst, they will probably pleasantly surprise you!
Our 7am flight from LA to Vancouver.
Jet Lag;
I won’t lie, the first 4 days were very early starts. He would wake at around 4am and be ready to start the day playing! And it was also tricky when we returned home. If you’re looking for tips to readjust your child I would recommend the following;
Try and give them the first day to catch up on their sleep when they want to if like Henry they didn’t sleep much on the plane. Don’t book too much in, take the time to adjust.
Give them as much daylight during the day time hours, this adjusts their internal body clock most effectively if they are back to front.
Try and stick to your home routine as much and as quickly as possible, gradually introducing a later or earlier bed time depending on which way they are out.

tips for travelling with a baby

Timings;
Day 1 of our return;
Henry was spot on to his pre trip routine the day we got back – 2 naps and bath and bed at 6.30pm – talk about a false sense of security! At 9pm he woke up and would not go back to sleep despite shushing then almost an hours walk out in the pram. We came to the conclusion that he was just not ready for bed and so we allowed him to get up and play for a couple of hours before trying him back again at 11.30. At this point Stuart and I hadn’t slept for over 37 hours so we were tired little bunnies. Luckily for us Henry slept in until 11.30am – so 12 hours, just the wrong times!
Day 2 – Awake at 10am, bedtime 9pm
Day 3 – Awake at 9am, bedtime 8pm
Day 4 – Awake slight slip back to 10am, bedtime 9.15pm
Day 5 – Awake at 8am, bedtime 7.30pm
Day 6 – Awake at 7.30am, bedtime 7pm
Tomorrow let’s hope for normal 6.30am wake up and 6.30pm bedtime!
My main advice would be, don’t book anything too intensive in for the first few days. This will help limit the stress for both you and your baby. We were lucky that we were staying with our friends in Chicago for a week, so we had loads of space for him to play in for those first few early starts, and we could limit our adventures until he was settled.

tips for travelling with a baby

Packing;
We certainly didn’t travel light, and that was mainly due to the amount of time we were away for and the 2 extreme climates we had to dress for – Canada in April and California in May! If you are struggling with luggage weight limits I would recommend that you try not to bring too many of the same thing, such as sleep suits and vests as there will always be washing facilities within the hotel or nearby. You shouldn’t need towels as all hotels have them for both showering and swimming. Think about how many days you may have by the pool or on the beach as these days you won’t necessarily need a full outfit for them on top of their swimming outfits (sadly ours wasn’t such a holiday this time!). Think also about your traveling days as you could think about using a sleep suit for the aeroplane rather than an outfit (my experience is that they get utterly filthy from crawling around on the floor during the hours of waiting for planes.) Here are my top 3 products I wouldn’t go away without.

tips for travelling with a baby, the review

Driving;
It goes without saying to time your naps around your traveling needs of course; as you would do at home. But this was really key for us as a couple of days we had a lot of ground to cover. We would set off straight away after breakfast so Henry would have 1hr 20mins plus another 40 mins or so of being amused looking out of the window. Then a break for lunch and a play somewhere he could get out and explore, followed by the same during his after lunch nap. This only happened a couple of days as usually we would limit our driving to 1 sleeps worth every few days.
 tips for travelling with a baby
Day time Activities;
It was really important to us to make sure Henry was getting enough mental and physical activity as possible, so if you’re feeling the same I’d suggest you do some research to see where local soft play and children’s centres are. In America they have “Children’s Museums” which are fantastic and we were given passes by our friends in Chicago to the local one there which was packed full of amazing activities for all ages of children, Henry had an amazing time exploring. We found loads of these around the States. The beach was also a huge hit for our boy who’d never felt the sand between his toes before and on cooler days he would spend hours playing with it, fascinated.

tips for travelling with a baby

After 6 weeks, 6 flights, and 4 time zones we certainly learnt a lot as well as seeing a fantastic array of beautiful sites, and these are just a few tips, but please get in touch if you wanted any further advice for your upcoming trip. Try not to let the planning and preparation stress you out and enjoy the memories you’ll be making with your family.
 tips for travelling with a baby the review

superhero style decor toddler room ideas

For a mum, there aren’t many priorities that top making things special for your children. That can mean anything from a special gift to a fun experience, or anything in between. But one way you can do something special for your child that will really last is by putting some special design touches on his or her bedroom.

Sometimes, bedroom design actually falls by the wayside. You might set up a nursery with calming colours and soft décor before a baby is born, but after you might not think to do a full-scale re-design; instead, you might simply add new things to the room as your child grows up. That’s all good, and if the child is comfortable and happy that’s really all that matters! But if you have a young child beginning to develop his or her own interests, you can really have fun crafting a room to suit those interests.

Here are a few fun ways to do it!

red star and gnome toddler bedroom accessories

Emphasise Favourite Colours

As I mentioned, a lot of parents will put a good deal of thought into a nursery design, and paint (or wallpaper) colour tends to be a bit part of that. Should you do baby blue for a boy, and pink for a girl? Or what about a slight variation with pale green for a boy and pastel purple for a girl? Or should you choose something more neutral like a pale yellow or a soothing off-white for the room? These are questions a lot of us ask when we have a baby on the way.

The fun part about watching a child grow older is that you no longer have to answer these questions! The child can. Some time ago Elle Décor posted a gallery of inspiring children’s rooms. While there’s a lot to glean from the designs, one thing that stands out is colour. Each featured room has one or two defining colours, and they’re not just rooted in the pink and blue stereotypes. The lesson here is to see what colour (or colours) your child might have a preference for and design accordingly.

superhero and comic book magazines in frames for toddler decor Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

Build Low Cabinets Or Shelves

Sure, the idea of carpentry doesn’t sound like you’re creating a magical wonderland for the little ones. But I remember watching a friend’s toddler play a few years ago and being overcome by the cuteness of the little girl arranging her toys neatly on a shelf that was about up to my knee! It’s since occurred to me that children like to collect things, and they deserve the space to organise those things.

For this reason, I’d recommend building some small, low cabinets or shelves into your growing child’s room—and this actually isn’t too difficult. Aside from basic building materials, you’ll just need screws and a power drill. Screwfix’s inventory of Makita drills can help you to get an idea of what such a tool can accomplish. These drills feature the latest technology and can quickly do the work that might take you hours manually, which means any old mum (or non DIY Dad like my hubby!) can turn into a suitable carpenter to build little shelving for kids!

Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

Consider Bunk Beds

Bunk beds don’t always seem to be the most practical options. Indeed, unless you have twins or you have young children close enough in age to share a room, they might seem wholly unnecessary! Yet, if you recall being a child yourself, you may remember being fascinated by the idea of bunk beds. There’s just something exciting about them, whether it’s the promise of a friend staying the night at some point, or simply the tiered element they add to a room. One bed on top of another, to a child, may as well be a fort (which of course is great fun).

There are innumerable ways to design bunk beds, though in the end you’ll probably need more than materials and a drill for this one. You may need some outside help (or you may just have to make a purchase), but for some inspiration, the extraordinary bunk bed designs featured at Architecture Art Designs can all be of service. Some of them are truly outstanding.

ikea kallax set up and storage ideas in children's bedroom

Supply Special Animals

I know, this sounds oddly specific in the context of room design. But let’s face it: every child loves stuffed animals! And better yet, larger stuffed animals essentially function as furniture (or at least pillows) for a small child. So it’s always a fun idea not only to stock a child’s room with stuffed animals as a form of decoration, but to find some particularly special ones to do it with.

If you want, you can always go for your child’s favourite stuffed animal, or else simply find some big cuddly ones you enjoy yourself. But a company called Budsies also offers a particularly special approach which I actually really love the idea of as the boys get older. They build custom stuffed animals based on children’s drawings (whether or not they resemble actual animals at all). It’s great fun, and something that your child will appreciate to no end. In fact, you may even find yourself tempted to build one or two on your own!

superhero style decoration in toddlers bedroom Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

I hope you like these ideas, I’d love to hear any of yours or see some of your little one’s rooms as I am gathering ideas for when George moves up into a “big boy bedroom” from his nursery so I’m looking forward to designing that with his tastes in mind!

This post was written in collaboration with Erin Marshall.

SNK-Lara-2

Last week I was thrilled to have been invited along to the Space NK store opening in Winchester. If you follow my YouTube channel I am sure you will know I am a total beauty & skincare addict so this was my idea of heaven!

SNK-Signage

The closest Space NK store to us is about an hour away so I am so pleased they have opened their stunning new store in Winchester, Hampshire. The building, once used for tea dances (cute), has been renovated to a beautiful standard and it lends itself perfectly to the luxury brands it houses. The original beams, low ceilings and period features really give it an authentic apothecary feel.

SNK-NARS

The store was full to the brim with my absolute favourite skincare and beauty brands. From NARS to Becca and Rodial through to Zelens. All brands which aren’t readily available on the high street.

As you may know, I love Sephora and have filmed a few hauls over on my channel. However being an overseas store, it’s not exactly easy to get my hands on things. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I now have these amazing brands on my doorstep, and what’s more I can go in, talk through my needs, wants & wishes with expertly trained staff who will be able to personally help me find the right products. The staff don’t get sales based commission which really makes me feel like the advice and service they are giving me is what’s right for me and not because they have to push particular products out the door!

space_nk_winchester

What’s more, if you want to try that super expensive serum, but you have really sensitive skin (like me) then you can take away a generous sized sample and test it out for a couple of weeks to make sure you’re not going to waste your money on something you skin doesn’t like or isn’t suitable for your needs.

space_nk_winchester

I didn’t quite count how many ladies there were, but there were expert make up artists on hand to do full make overs if you so wish, or touch ups, test colours/specific looks out on you which would be amazing if you had no idea what you were doing when it came to make up, wanted to try out a new look, or even if you had a night out to get ready for!

space_nk_winchester

I spent over an hour just browsing everything, I was oohing and ahhing at each shelf, one after the other. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. The store was so hotly anticipated that they had a queue of almost 100 people waiting patiently before they even managed to open the doors first thing! I’m glad I’m not the only totally obsessed skincare addict!

space_nk_winchester

At the back of the store, beyond the skincare and make up, was a treasure trove of beautiful smelling goodies like luxury candles and Himalayan bath salts. Plus hair styling products and organic hand and body treatments from many brands I am yet to try. My wish list was already far too long and I have definitely increased my Christmas list 5 fold since my visit.

space_nk_winchester

Have you visited the newly opened Space NK in Winchester? What did you think? What’s on your beauty wish list? I’d love to know!

space-NK-Winchester