Let’s start with my most recent holiday and I’ll fill you in as we go along. I went with my husband and Pumpkinella to Chicago at the end of May this year. It was our first medium haul flight (I’m told long haul is going as far as Australia and Asia and this wasn’t quite as far). Our journey started with a 4 and a half hour trip up the M4 from South Wales to London town where we visited my parents and stayed overnight so we’d feel refreshed for an early morning start. On the day of the holiday we spent 1 hour in the car with my parents driving us to the airport, 3 hours at the airport building up the excitement and then 7 and a half hours on the flight itself before we arrived at the glorious Windy City that is Chicago.
I packed everything I could think of before leaving South Wales, believing it was better to be safe than sorry. Oh boy was I wrong. When we arrived at my parents the evening before, I couldn’t lift my suitcase, my husband had put it in the car and I just didn’t imagine it would be so heavy. It was heaving and there was just too much in there. I considered that I might want to do a bit of shopping while there and so decided to take some things out.
The things I didn’t actually really need and conceded were:
- 20 tops for Pumpkinella for a 7 day trip – this was whittled down to 10; 2 of which would be in the hand luggage in case of certain drink and food accidents.
- Every summer dress that Pumpkinella owned and there were loads – We didn’t have the best of weather during the first few weeks of May here in the UK and as anyone with a baby will know, if they don’t wear it the moment it fits, they’ll grow out of it and won’t ever be able to wear it. I scaled back after checking the weather in Chicago and realising it would be cooler on some days and warmer on others. We only needed a couple of dresses and I could go crazy in the shops then if she needed more.
- My clothes – Now this was a tricky one. Pumpkinella is a bit of a messy baby just as I am a messy mummy. As such I’m constantly having to change my clothes, at least twice a day while I’m with her. I wanted to be prepared so I bought a wide range of clothes and covered every possible type of weather we might have. This was over-kill so I eventually scaled back, not enough but I tried.
Once the clothing, shoes and accessories were all accounted for the next important thing was the toiletries. I needed some medication for myself as I have regular migraines. For Pumpkinella I really needed to think carefully and try cater for as many possible situations whilst keeping the amount of items at an acceptable level.
The toiletries I took along with us to Chicago were by far the most useful things that I think I packed and I was very proud of myself.
On our return from holiday, we immediately started planning our next one, a short european break somewhere and over a long weekend. It’s always sad to say goodbye to your holiday so to cheer us up we wanted to set something new in our sights.
The lovely people at Chemist Direct got in touch with me to see if I’d like to do my baby holiday shop on their website. I had been there over a year earlier and not really found the range of things I needed, so had not returned till now.
I made a list of my key things to buy, in terms of toiletries for a holiday with a baby and set about on their website to see how much of it I could find. I’m often walking in and out of shops during weekend shopping trips as I never seem to be able to find the things I need in one place. This was a challenge already set before my eyes and Chemist Direct was being challenged to break my habit and make me buy it all from them!
After a good half an hour on their very well organised website, I had a shopping basket full of items. Now I must say that I didn’t purchase absolutely everything I needed for my holidays through Chemist Direct because I already had some items (nappies, nappy bags, milk bottles, formula milk etc…). Instead I concentrated on the things I didn’t already have and that would be lightweight and portable for my fast approaching holiday.
So here we are below, the items that I purchased. I’m pleased to say that they were all cheaper than I would find in my local high street or the supermarkets nearby and I was indeed very impressed by this. For certain items, I had to answer some questions which would be reviewed by a real life pharmacist so they could be sure that the item was appropriate for me. (very well done for this Chemist Direct (@chemistdirect), the first online pharmacy I’ve visited that does this.)
1. Wet Ones sticky fingers antibacterial kids wipes
Pumpkinella has an allergy to nappy wipes when used on her hands and short of washing them every 10 minutes, It’s always necessary to have something else handy on me to clean her hands. She sucks two fingers for comfort so we are constantly watching and cleaning those hands. An airport is an ideal breeding ground for germs as with a hospital so these wipes are on my must-buy list for our travels. No irritation and they smelled nice.
Pumpkinella never really suffered with nappy rash as little baby but as she’s becoming more and more independent, hiding to go to the toilet in her nappy etc…it’s getting harder and harder to spot when she needs a change. Whilst travelling to Chicago, it was difficult to time the nappy changes and sometimes her bottom would get clammy. Coupled with some very warm weather in Chicago, Sudocrem became a Godsend as it provided a protective barrier during every nappy change, keeping her fresh. I purchased two of the smallest sizes due to the airport restrictions and will keep one in the suitcase and one with our carry-on bag during our next holiday. I know you can get things like this abroad but we use it regularly and there’s just no need to take the risk that your child might get nappy rash when so far away from home.
3. Garnier Ambre Solaire Resisto kids very high 50 SPF Coloured spray
This is actually too big to fit into our carry-on bags at 250ml but is intended for the holiday destination itself. In the airport we are unlikely to be out in the sun any longer than it takes to walk from the transfer coach to the airplane itself. This was a smart buy from my perspective because my husband is very fair-skinned and both him and Pumpkinella could use the same high SPF sun tan spray throughout the holiday.
4. MAM starter cup for girls
Pumpkinella already has one of these but I just couldn’t resist as they are so easy to use while out and about. They have a no-spill system that allows her to suck out the water and won’t spill when the bottle is held upside down. It’s also small enough that she can carry it along with her wherever she goes. It hooked on nicely to my backpack when we went to Chicago, thereby leaving me more space inside the carry-on bag. The lid is so secure that even without the no-spill rubber tube inside, it keeps all the water in (you just have to remember this and take the lid off slowly as the water is sometimes get caught in there). We had our cup cleaned by the air hostess while on the flight and continued to use to throughout the trip. I love the MAM range as they really do seem to have kids in mind when they design their products. I just couldn’t resist buying another one on the website.
5. Aveeno moisturising cream
Pumpkinella used to suffer from eczema but since we started using this cream from the Aveeno range we’ve not seen a single spot of dry skin in over a year. It uses natural ingredients and is very light and easy to apply with no residue or strong smell. I knew they sold these in America but the packaging was different and I couldn’t be sure that we could buy the exact same version of the product out there. This to me was an absolute necessity for any holiday with my daughter . As an african woman, I use body lotion every morning, and sometimes also at night. With Pumpkinella’s mixed heritage there was a 50/50 chance that she might have a tendency for dry skin like me. Cream really does keep the skin supple and youthful so it’s something I’d recommend everyone should use, regardless of your skin type. For any holiday, both lotion/ cream is on top of my toiletries list. (I also use the Oilatum Children’s bath additive for bath times as it’s so gentle on Pumpkinella’s skin)
6. NUK Training toothbrush set
I love baby toothbrushes, not the conventional ones like we use as adults, but the rubber ones that are easy to grip and still clean children’s teeth excellently. They can be quite expensive and are often hard to find. The one my daughter used to use was the Banana toothbrush, and I also highly recommend it btw. When I saw the NUK version on the Chemist Direct website, I was very excited to try it. It comes with a ‘cleaning trainer’ designed to help teach a baby to clean their own teeth and also has a massage effect. Given that mot young kids just want to chew on their brush it also came in handy for that too. It also comes with a ‘brush trainer’ toothbrush with rubber bristles that both cleans and massages. Pumpkinella does also like to gnaw on toothbrushes like this one and has 12 sharp teeth. Even then I’m please to report she can’t bite off the rubber. I wouldn’t advise leaving a baby to gnaw on it for long periods as I wouldn’t want to take the risk they do eventually bite the rubber off. However, I’ve used this type of toothbrush now for about 14 months and can assure you that they are great to use.
7. Annabel Karmel stackable food pots x6
Another great buy I wasn’t expecting Chemist Direct to have . These are cute little pots to put anything in. I put dried fruit like raisins, milk powder, rice cakes, and basically anything that a baby might want to have to snack on over a long journey. They come in a pack of 6 which you rarely see with these types of products and are very reasonably priced too. I normally buy my plastic containers from IKEA but use things like these for my daughter as they are BPA free.
Note:- (All the plastic products I’ve mentioned here are BPA free)
8. Carols Daughter for kids comb-free softening conditioner
Now I must confess right away this wasn’t available via Chemist Direct. As a bi-racial baby, my daughter has full and curly hair. As it’s never been cut, it is different textures. To avoid tantrums and unnecessary pain, I always wash her hair using a sulphate-free, paraben-free product. Carol’s Daughter has an excellent and wide range of products but it’s sadly not so easy to find in the UK and is only available in specialist shops. Thankfully it’s an American brand so I was able to pick up some supplies at very reasonable rates while in Chicago. I found the humidity while in Chicago changed Pumpkinella’s hair texture and made it frizzy so it was great to have a product like this to revitalise her lovely locks.
9. Ashton & Parsons Infant’s powders
I don’t know how these work, I’ve tasted them myself in an attempt to understand, but for some reason, every child I know that has used this has loved them and gained relief from them. Every mother I know has raved about them, even my own mother used it for me when I was a teething. It’s a must have and really can’t be left to chance when you have a child of teething age. The pain of teething affects them differently but it’s not particularly pleasant for anyone and we as adults can at least explain the problem and see a dentist but our young kids just have to cope with it. I was very happy to be able to buy this cheaper on Chemist Direct than anywhere I’ve shopped previously (online or not) so I’ll definitely be returning for more. They also come in a handy foil wrap so can go anywhere you go.
10. Steroplast Holiday First Aid Kit
Yes this is a first aid kit. I know it’s not the most obvious thing but we had bought a pair of cute yellow sandals for Pumpkinella and during the holiday in Chicago and the stitching rubbed against her legs and bruised and cut them in just a couple of hours. She was in pain every time we’d put another shoe on and a pack of plasters and dressing came in very handy. It was something we had to rush out for while in Chicago and since coming back I’ve decided to always pack. As it happened, my clumsy self also needed dressings for when I tried to cut my finger off instead of the chicken I was preparing. So unlikely as it might be, pack a mini first aid kit when you go on holiday. They’re very compact and can come in very handy.
11. Aquafresh Milk Teeth Toothpaste 0-2 years old
I have always bought this brand as they are specially for Pumpkinella’s age group and she thinks they’re yummy. I try to avoid changing things like this to give a bit of consistency in our routine. They’re also very reasonably priced so there’s no need to buy any other type. Having something like this in the holiday bag means we pretty much maintain morning and night-time routines in the same way no matter where we are.
12. Calpol Sugar-free infant suspension sachets
Last but not least and arguably my most important buy is the baby paracetamol in the form of Calpol. Pumpkinella fell ill while in Chicago and after 6 hours in the hospital before being seen, was told she had an ear infection. The Calpol helped get her temperature down temporarily so she could sleep and it’s something I use, along with baby ibuprofen, whenever she has a fever that won’t budge. It’s widely available in most countries under different band names but these sachet versions are so easy to carry around and don’t even require a spoon to use. I can’t think of any holiday where this wouldn’t be packed just in case.
This was not my definitive list of must haves but should give you a slightly different perspective on family travel essentials. I hope you found it useful. If there’s anything else you would also add, please leave a comment and let me know.
Disclaimer: I was provided a with a money off voucher to purchase items from Chemist Direct @chemistdirect, and to provide a review however the thoughts expressed honest and are all my own.
This is my entry into the Pink Linking Ambassador search #ItsInTheBagBaby.