secretes to travelling with toddlers

I recently completed a journey which I was secretly dreading. It was one of those trips which had to be done just to prove to yourself it could be done.  And once the initial maiden voyage was over, it would be plain sailing from forth with.

What made my nerves even more nonsense was that I’d done this journey many times before, the exception being I had children, older children but never a toddler. An adventurous, lively toddler who loves to explore and investigate everything, a toddler who I knew would be beyond excited at doing something new, a toddler who hated to be confined and rarely sat still for more than 5 minutes .

That was the cause of my concerns.

So the very fact that we completed our little journey, Toddler, Tween and yours truly, in a spectacular and stress free manner has compelled me to share how we managed 6 trains over  7 hours on our return trip from Devon to Oxford. And share some tips we picked up along the way for anyone else considering travelling with toddlers.

secretes to travelling with toddlers


The key to my success was in the planning. I knew that to guarantee that Toddler slept for some of our journey, I booked a train that should in theory give me an hour until his nap. This meant that he could get all excitement out of his system not long after boarding and then after a little snack, would settle down to sleep. failing that, the iPad is genius for quiet time. I’m careful never to overuse it as it looses it’s appeal and is only ever brought out at as a last resort.

As we were only staying away for a few days, we made do with a wheeled rucksack. This was our saviour when navigating the platforms or walking down train aisles and was soft enough to pack into the luggage holds. And packing was a crucial part in the planning. My BabyMule changing bag is an absolute game changer for travelling. slung over my shoulders, leaving my hands free and having everything stored in the different compartments makes grabbing snacks and nappy changes simples.

 

I also made sure I had plenty of snacks, dinners and drinks for distracting any efforts to continually want to toddle around, as toddlers do. I chose snacks which would take a while to eat and hopefully not make too much of mess of clothes or the train floor, thus eliminating any further stress.  Think raisins, Little Dish GoGo’s 

To make getting on and off the train safe, I carried my toddler in a baby sling. This meant I had my hands free to carry my baby bag and suitcase. And reins are a must for more mobile toddlers. I take mine even when I’ve got the buggy as it keeps him close by while I’m collapsing it.

Any experienced parent, who’s learnt from experience,  will know that you can’t really travel anywhere without a few extra items in your parenting ammo, one of these being a few first aid items and while my mini break was hardly crossing that Amazon, the basics still applied. Along with an emergency packet of stickers, a small pot of distraction bubbles and a favourite teddy.

Mothercare parenting expert, Liz Day, recommends that when travelling, keep your child’s teddy bear safely in your hand luggage or an easily accessible bag so they are within reach to soothe and calm your tot if there are any upsets during the journey.

So now I’ve got my plan for successful travelling with toddlers I’m hoping to be a little more adventurous with our days out and short breaks. Watch this space!

secretes to travelling with toddlers

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

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what is a blogger and how do they make money? read on and you'll find out

“So what do you do?” It was a question I’ve had many times over, and every time I pause before giving an answer. This time was no different. It was a noisy bar and the person asking was seven sheets to the wind. Not sure if they were really bothered what my answer would be, I quickly weighed up a reply in my head.

Do I go for my fail safe Social Media Manager? After all, I am now fully qualified and so it feels like a perfectly valid answer, or do I go for the pre courser, the role I cut my teeth in, in all that is social media; a blogger.

Feeling in the mood for debate, and sensing one looming with said person asking, I replied “I am blogger.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t get all that blogging malarkey, what is a blogger?” was the eventual reply.

This time it was my turn to pause. I needed to give a full and valid reason for being a blogger only in laymen terms, while giving the profession the justice it deserves. Simply because that’s what it is to me – it is a profession, after all I gave up a career, a 9-5, for blogging.

Yet that title is never one which can be translated into a sentence and be done with. It needs explanation and clarification.

So that’s what I did……

“well, I share my opinion and snippets of my life on a website which I built and maintain myself. Sometimes I share reviews of a product which a company has sent me and sometimes I just waffled about things which are going on in my head.”

And the debate continued.

“That’s not a job though, that’s a hobby. You can’t make money blogging.”

f you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

3 years ago I’d have completely agreed, it was just a hobby. An outlet to share my professional training and to keep it fresh in my mind while on maternity leave. Which it did. But pretty soon I was being contacted by brands to review their products on my blog. I only ever accepted things I thought were relevant to my readers or I needed, it helped keep me in my niche and stopped looked like a total advertising platform.

12 months in though, my social media followers were building up nicely and soon the offers for sponsored posts were pinging into my mail box. I was being paid to write a blog post by companies. My little blog had become a trusted advertising or brand awareness referral platform for other companies. My hard work had paid off.

It’s still a little difficult to explain if you don’t fully know how the internet works. In a nutshell, companies collaborate with bloggers to help spread the word about their product or service. We have direct access to readers who follow our blogs on social media or receiving our latest blog posts straight via email. It’s a much more personal way of reaching people; Our experience with the brand or company we are collaborating with is bound within a story within an underpinning back history on what is going in our life.

Almost like having a chat with your mates, telling them how great something is (or rubbish) having moan about life or shouting from the roof tops how great it is. I’ve turned down work offers which I don’t think I can find anything interesting to write about or doesn’t fit with anything which is going on for me right now. I’ve refused to write about products or experiences which I have no interest in or I wouldn’t want to recommend to a friend.

A lot of my day is spent replying to emails with a polite thanks but no thanks. So don’t ever feel you’re being fed a line, if I tell you I liked it, I liked it. If I write about it, it’s because I’m interested in it.

Plus, it’s actually a lot harder to tell a lie than share a truth.

And don’t EVER think that blogging is all about the free stuff, it’s NEVER free, any product I review has been exchanged for my time spent putting the product through the nitty gritty, writing a blog post, photographing and editing, sharing and promoting across my social media and the time spent maintaining my website. Most of the time the product I’m sharing doesn’t equate to the cost per hour spent doing all the above.

Which is precisely  why I will thing long and had about whether I want to review it. My time is precious.

I’ve been criticised for over sharing and ‘spreading myself all over the internet.’ Which I don’t disagree with one bit. You do have to give a little bit of yourself away to draw your readers in. It’s the curiosity of humankind which makes a blog such compelling reading. A little like a reality TV show, I guess. But the pros far outweigh the cons, the messages and feedback of support and thanks I get as a blogger keep me reaching for the keyboard and sharing my story. And while I do sometimes find it difficult being so public, especially with my current situation.

It’s also the most cathartic thing I can do both for myself, anyone else in a similar situation and for my family and friends who wonder what’s going on in my busy little head most of the time!

Blogging isn’t for everyone but it is for me, the hours are long but the rewards are fantastic!

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret

 

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you never know how you'll feel during a divorce, eveyone's different. Here's my story

I’ve been over analysing life a lot lately, trying to evaluate and understand the whats and whys in an attempt to understand me and what I do next. I’m playing many new roles right now; The (single) mum, the vulnerable daughter, the sister, the friend, the girlfriend, the business woman and the soon to be ex-wife. These life changes haven’t just effected me and I’m very conscious that it’s not just me that’s analysing me too.

With so much change and so many new experiences I’m taking a baby steps approach to life. Never wanting to plan too far ahead as I float through each week in survival mode. It’s a strange and exciting feeling when your life plans take a sudden change, and that over analysing I’ve been doing is a product of the uncertainty of what I thought the future might be like. That old future is now a stranger to me now and I’m a little scared to dare dream of what the new one brings.

When people ask how I’m doing, I know what they’re really asking. But the truth is you could ask me that question every day and it will be different. Today I’m feeling good, I’m living for today. With a tired fuzzy head my focus is on what I’m doing today and how good my bed will feel when I crawl in at the end of the day,

Today I’m too tired for planning and over analysing.

Today I’m not thinking about the holiday we’re off on next month.

Today I’m not thinking about what to do on my childfree weekend and fretting about being away from my boys.

Today I’m not thinking about the things which are lacking in my life and how I can change that.

Today I’m not thinking about how I’m going to get my new business thriving and bringing in enough money so I don’t lie awake at night thinking about all the bills I need to pay.

Today I’m NOT over analysing.

Today I’m giving my thinking brain a break.

I spent too much time doing that last night and I’m tired.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon clearing out the messy junk room under the stairs in an attempt to clear my jumbled thoughts. Decluttering and housework seem to help, it’s like osmosis – decluttering my mind. I’m still the optimistic, easy going me, just  a little more distant at times as I fall down the rabbit hole of thinking.

I’m navigating unchartered waters right now so I’ve decided the best thing I can do is pull up the anchor and see where the wind takes me. I can’t plan a future right now, I can’t plan as I have no idea what it’ll look like.  The back pages of my story have been ripped out and replaced by blank ones, the words DIVORCE taking the title of the next chapter.

So excuse me if I’m a little vague in my answer about “How am I today?” or if  throw a question right back at you and change the subject. I don’t always know exactly how to answer and each day is different, and I apologise if I double book you or forget an arrangement, my fuzzy head can’t always see past the end of the day.

I’ve tried planning out my weeks and weekends and it unnerves me when those plans get changed. It sends me into a panic and reminds me that even tomorrow is still a little uncertain. So right now I don’t dare plan too much as recent events have taught me, even the best laid plans have a habit of going astray.

And that right now pulling up anchor and going with the flow is the only way to go.

I've stopped planning too much as my impeding divorce has re written the rule book and my future plans are looking a little uncertain.

 

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I’ve only gone and done it….I’ve got my feet out, funny what a little sunshine gets you braving!  It’s always a pinnacle moment of the year, the one where I pack away my trusty boots for the season and bring out the sandals. Being a Devon living, seaside gal it’s pretty much flip-flops all the way for the next few months bar a few plimsols wearing days, only this year I’m going a little different with something a little more supportive.

I’ve got quite an over pronation and while those trusty flip-flops may be super comfy but I fear I may have done a little damage over the years, so this spring and summer I’m hoping to correct my step by wearing some podiatrist designed footbed sandals from Vionic Shoes .


The great thing about the Jura sandals which I’m stepping out in (see what I did there!) is I’ll be working on walking with the correct alignment and that over pronation I’ve developed will be no more. <crosses fingers > I’m also hoping the foot pain I experience when out on long walks will stop. (They’re also great for helping with Plantar Fasciitus which is explained in more detail over on the website

But aside from all the sciencey stuff going on, they look really good! I’ve opted for an on-going animal print theme which I know have a growing collection of footwear in, with the hope they’ll go with anything and everything. They can be dressed up or casual-ed down and break up an all black outfit and add a sassy edge to denims and whites.


I’ve got quite narrow feet so having an adjustable strap means I can adjust them to fit perfectly and as leather tends to give a little over time, I can tighten them so they’ll always fit. This is a must-have on my summer sandals tick list as I didn’t fancy a pair which I ended up having to toe-grab them into place each time I walked, in an effort to keep them on my feet. The double strap should put an end to any of that annoying business.

And best of all, now I have some fabulous shoes, I can start some serious summer shopping for my holiday wardrobe and book myself in for a must have summer pedicure.

Disclaimer

I was gifted a pair of Vionic Jura sandals for my honest opinion. All words and photos are my own unless otherwise stated 

 

 

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I’m a huge fan of Instagram, it’s like a quick snippet into people’s lives in picture form.

While reading blogs helps gives a real insight in people’s lives and ideas, Instagram is the quick fix when you haven’t got time to read a full post. Whether you just want to oooo and arrhhhh at the photos or stop and read the captions you still get that nosey parker fix. Perfect for a busy mum like Yours Truly, where time is of the essence.

I’ve been playing around with my own account lately, it was always a mini tribute to my camera loving toddler but I finding I write less and less about kids on here nowadays so have started showcasing my Instagram as more of lifestyle account. But I’m still drawn to the family Instagrammers out there and I’m in the mood for sharing my current favourites.

There’s quite a few I check on regularly but these are the ones which I love snooping on, they don’t all have huge followings but that means nothing to be fair. I love them for their no frills take on Instagram and each for differing reasons.

 Little paper swan

It’s the fresh, perfectly composed photography and variety of images which draw me in every time. Take a look at Cathryn’s life through a lens and you’ll see what I mean.

A post shared by Cathryn Wood (@littlepaperswan) on

 

Grace and Blaze Yoga

I’m a yoga newbie and absolutely love it and while Jo’s account is primarily about pregnancy and post natal yoga, you also get to see a little snippet of an ex pat’s life in Barcelona. It’s like a 2-4-1 deal in Instagram where you feel instantly calmer just by being a passive observer.

Life Unexpected

Fellow West Country blogger and Instagrammer, Chloe, gives you travel, Cornwall, quotes and stunning photos in one manageable lump sum. As a single mum with a toddler she’s quite an inspiration, nothing seems to hold her back!

A post shared by Chloe (@lifeunexpectedblog) on

Sparkles & Stretch Marks

Who wouldn’t be inspired by Devon blogger Hayley and mum to 3 boys under 4! I know I’m biased also being a mum to 3 boys, but her photos show life at its rawest yet cutest at the same time. You really get the sense that your seeing the real Hayley and not the perfectly primed Instagram mum.

This Enchanted Pixie

My final share is Polly at Enchanted Pixie. Aside from the amazing multi coloured hair which I adore but would never be brave enough for,  she also shares a life as it is. We have quite a similar ethos on parenting and I always take time to stop and read how life’s treating her which accompanies her posts each time.

Bonus! 

Busy Mom Hungry Boys

I’m sneaking one more in as a bonus one…….. love food? Busy mum? Then check this fab account which shares snippets of family life alongside her digital campaign combining delicious meals family meals and family life. Her quotes show real sisterhood of mum’s / moms (in keeping with Margo’s Irish tones.) 

So there you have it, please do share any of your favourites in the comments. I’m always on the look out for people to follow.

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