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Oh Christmas tree

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I remember writing that our luck would run out soon with family days out and this week proves it might just have done! I garentee this life of ours is far from picture perfect, anyone eves dropping into my disciplining Elin today can agree with that (in her defense she has been ill and in my defense I have been house bound with two kids for a week 😉 ) but occasionally when everything goes right these girls really are the sweetest.

Earlier this week James got rained off work which meant a bonus morning together where we decided to decorate our tree. It had been stood there with just its lights for a few days waiting for when we were altogether (and actually I think this helped curb Etty’s obsession with it as she’s totally ignored it since, bonus!) but hanging all the decorations really was lovely. We snacked on mini marshmallows and told Elin stories about some of our special decorations and what they represent in our lives. It was lovely. Elin’s energy is still a bit lacking from this nasty bug she’s had but for an hour here she had a genuinely brilliant time and it made me some really happy memories.

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We picked up the girls pajamas from New york this summer and they are just the best. I’ve driven James nuts since because he keeps grabbing them for the girls at bed time and I’ve been insisting on saving them for a special occasion. After this I will let them wear them like a normal person would (before neither of them fit anymore) but it was really cute seeing them properly twinning for the first time. I’m still working on James to allow full on matching family Christmas Pajamas but for now these will do!decorations16decoration18DSC_0505decorations13DSC_0512decoration17DSC_0535decorations19

One of our traditions, which I know lots of other people do too, is try and buy one or two significant decorations each year. Slowly I’d like our whole tree to be full of decorations that mean something to us and have a bit of a story behind them. This will take much longer if we break any more like we did our first Christmas together, but we won’t mention that. Those special ones are right at the top of the tree away from little curious fingers but it was special telling Elin about them, the places we have visited together and the milestones we have met. She also got to hang her own first decoration on the tree this year. (Etty’s is hiding in the christmas eve box for later this month!)decorations6

She gave Etty the last marshmallow. Take away from the fact I’d never really offer Etty a marshmallow just yet, it was still adorable. Especially as it was her last one. Moans for England does our Elin, but she does have a heart of gold.decorations8decorations15DSC_0563DSC_0580decoarations10

So while our tree seems pretty safe and Etty is more enamored by the stairs than the decorations, the train track is a different matter. James had this idea and quickly arrived home with one and admittedly it is cute as anything. But the song of jingle bells and tiny chubby fists permanently grabbing train track pieces lost its novelty factor fairly quickly. For me at least. Elin on the other hand could sit and watch it for hours (okay, it is beautiful) and she promptly pulled up a chair to listen and watch in awe. While I can get on board with this as a new family tradition I’m also quite okay just bringing it out of a morning or evening to keep it feeling that bit more special for longer!decorations14

Miss Ettienne seems pretty happy with it being her first Christmas. And mummy’s quite thankful to not be pregnant this Christmas and enjoy all the wine. (so much wine).decorations9decorations11decorations12

No matter what your traditions are or how grand you celebrate there really is nothing better then being surrounded by those you love. These babies truly test me beyond anything but they are good kids and I wouldn’t be without them. I think the holidays remind us of that and there is no better time to feel grateful and blessed then right now. Happy weekend everyone! tree1

 

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A Lathey family christmas

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So I’m a massive fan of Christmas. I love it, the build up, the day itself and food induced coma afterwards. Massive sucker for all that stuff and that’s only grown since having kids. This year we are even more excited because not only is it Ettienne’s first ever Christmas, but its likely the first Christmas Elin will remember and have a real understanding of. So I’m totally okay going over board on festivities in the lead up.

Having said all that the first few days on Decemeber haven’t quite lived up to what we’d planned. With a combination of fire shouts, injuries, tea rooms not serving tea and in the last few days a killer sickness bug in the biggest little, its left me feeling a bit lack luster of it all. But I guess its good to get this all out the way now rather than for the main event, right? Anyway, I’m pretty sure photos are my love language so looking back on these reminds me of all the good things in life, not those other things out of our control. Here’s some of the positives from what we’ve been up to!

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The girls’ ‘activity advent calendar’ sent us on the hunt for Santa’s reindeer. We headed over to Cotley farm to scout out two of his best flyers. This place has been recommended to me lots and it is very sweet. The reindeer were great and the bonus of baby pigs, cows and lambs was even better. Its beautifully decorated for Christmas and a sweet alternatives to more plastic-y and commercial activities. Its also got the added bonus that its free for  a donation, which is always good at such an expensive time.

However we did struggle as the ‘Tea room’ wasn’t serving hot drinks when we visited, go figure. It also serves no food which we didn’t realize, although free mince pies and mulled wine are a nice touch (not so much when you’re two, though).  I’m not sure if we just got unlucky that day or if its not really equipped as a tea room at all but it did mean we had to leave pretty quick to appease little miss almost three, who’d been promised a hot chocolate when we saw the hot chocolate mix. Not a huge deal but I’d recommend bringing a picnic and thermos. I doubt we’d go again unless we were in the area but it was a nice spot to while away an hour and if your local a great way to spend an inexpensive afternoon.

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Little Miss Ettienne is 9 months old. as in. 9 whole months. when did that happen? Shes a real mummas girl but also a total character right now. her eye brows are the most expressive things I’ve seen, shes got a smile I can’t compare to any other and still yodels like chewbacca at every opportunity. I’m fairly ashamed of myself just how few photos I have of just her on my camera roll, but whether I capture it or not she is a totally beautiful soul and is loved beyond words. James and I still catch ourselves and comment how awesome she is on a daily basis (we do with both girls in all honesty though!) Happy 9 months earth side, my Etty.

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Yes those are pigtails you spy!

After leaving Cotley we did stumble on a wonderful play cafe in Ottery (of all the cafes I could visit for Elin to use the toilet we pick one with a kids play castle taking up the entire downstairs!) It was amazing and so engaging for both girls with the bonus of it being 100% more bearable than your average soft play. We got a free play with our food order so will go back after visiting santa at the garden centre next week. Elin has talked non stop about that slide since. Will try and write about that visit properly then as it really was a gem!

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In our house we are ALL about those traditions, many we started before the girls were even here. Like, we have to get our tree from our favorite farm in Lyme Regis where you can pick your own. My love for this comes from a children’s book I had when I must have been Elins age. there were no words but there was a scene depicting a family cutting down their Christmas tree themselves and loading it on the car. Something about that always stuck with me and it was how I imagined Christmas would be like as a grown up. Pretty scary being that grown up now.

However in true ‘we are so not a picture perfect Christmas card’ tradition Elin through a massive wobbler having convinced her self that picking the tree also meant we were heading to soft play. Apparently those two things are interchangeable when you’re two. But we did have a lovely time before the penny dropped and she realized that a giant garish soft play centre wasn’t hidden in the out buidlings of this quaint little spot on the hill. And she was pretty excited to drive home with the tree ‘up there’. She’s actually asked me if the tree will go on our roof of our house one day too! Some pics of that:

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If there’s one thing about Christmas I don’t love its all the colds flying around. I always forget this when I start anticipating the early nights again but when they hit I’m reminded how rubbish it is with kids who catch anything going. Snot central in this house from November til March!DSC_0467DSC_0460DSC_0456DSC_0454DSC_0443

We have a lot planned this month to keep us all feeling as festive as possible. I’l do my best to document it all so you know if something is worth bothering with. But on our list so far we have a visit to the main man at Otter Nurseries (THE best grotto experience I have ever seen and so local to us!), carols at the donkey sanctuary this Friday night, the polar express on Seaton Tramway, a public pajama party showing the film in symondsbury and keeping our fingers crossed Elin is up for ice skating at the weekend! Time will tell. Happy December everyone!DSC_0452

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Sopley Farm!

DSC_0231Remember what I said about traditions and seasons and all that lark? So, my absolute favourite thing to do in October is visit a pumpkin patch. There are none local to us (which is a massive gap in the market if anyone wants to change that for next year!) so we travel to Sopley farm which is Bournemouth way. Now that is admittedly bloody far to travel for a sodding pumpkin that will  be mash come November BUT for anyone that is a nostalgic sucker like me, its totally worth the trip. Theres enough around that area to make it worth while if you need a bit more convincing than just the pumpkins (Moores valley and go Gruffalo hunting, or Bournemouth’s Adventureland is right there too). Because our girls are still quite young we just took them to the local garden centre to round off the time spent at the farm. Its got a soft play and fish so that’s basically an aquarium, right? Anyway, back to pumpkin picking.

I’m getting this post out quickly so that any of our friends who are as excited to go pumpkin picking as me can still fit it in before Haloween. It really is a fab spot and such a nice activity for kids, big and small. I always love unspoiled things and this is pretty authentic. Its so lovely to put the wellies on and get outdoors. I can only speak for my kids but they are a thousand times less obnoxious when we are outside in fresh air! Okay, so both kids still suck at car journeys so that makes it a bit tense but the rest of this day was genuinely lovely. We’ve had a couple of those lately (sucsessful outtings that actually live up to expectations) so I think our luck must be running thin. If you see mummy loosing her shit any time soon you’ll know why. Its all about balance, right! So, some pictures.

DSC_0139DSC_0129DSC_0135Even Etty was super excited! she is such a character and such a smiler its un real!DSC_0140DSC_0145DSC_0149DSC_0153We picked extra pumpkins to decorate the food table at Ettienne’s christening this Sunday. If we have time they should be all beautifully decorated for then, if not pumpkins look amazing anyway. Lets see how this week pans out!

DSC_0154DSC_0169See? smiler!

DSC_0172DSC_0174DSC_0178DSC_0182A big shout out to this man. He humours me and my little obsessions (like driving over an hour to pick a pumpkin we could have bought in tescos) and embraces them with me. Building a childhood full of magic and excitment, engaging them in the world around them, is all we really want. We want these family days to stand out for them, and for them to know that we really did try. Elin is really remembering these things which is both the most exciting thing and really nerve wracking. I want her to remember more of this, and less shouting. There will always be stress but if the scales can tip in our favour on the side of fun and happiness and love, then I think we’re doing alright.

DSC_0194DSC_0195DSC_0197DSC_0192We haven’t visited Sopley at other times but it looks as though they do a whole feast of pick your own, depending on the season. We’ll have to make a conscious effort to visit next summer, the fields of last season’s sunflowers must look beautiful in August! We did get to enjoy some home grown tomatoes though, one of Etty’s favourites since we began weaning.DSC_0219DSC_0218DSC_0216DSC_0213DSC_0214I swear home grown food just looks and tastes so much better! we only managed to grow potatoes ourselves this year (much to James and Elin’s intense excitment.) but I know we’ll aim to grow lots more in 2018. Aim being the key word, but good intentions are the start at least.

DSC_0205DSC_0202DSC_0200Today at least, i’l keep these ones. DSC_0208DSC_0209So we managed to produce a princess who hates getting mcuky hands. Theres a picture earlier of her happily wiping her hands on Daddy’s jeans. And she proved you don’t actually need fingers to carry pumpkins!

DSC_0211Did I mention, princess? Here she is insisting Daddy clean her muddy boots! And like an absolute sucker, he obligued. Talk about wrapping and little fingers, eh.

DSC_0220DSC_0228So, any of our friends with littles, or just a burning desire to visit a real pumpkin patch, we highly recomend Sopley! It is just fun. Silly, autumnal fun and worth it because pumpkins look so cute in pictures. Elin was already asking at bed time to go back, so I think it was a hit. Until next year Sopley, but thanks for keeping this mum’s dream alive!

You can see last years pictures here-

https://littlelathey.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/pumpkin-patch/ where I’m sporting a baby Etty shaped bump! I love seeing how we’ve changed, and seeing just how much Elin’s hair has grown, too!DSC_0224

 

 

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Apple picking festival, Killerton House!

Hi all! I haven’t blogged in so long. You can pretty much garentee when I take a break from this my mental health is maybe having a bit of a wobble. If I’m not in the right mind set I just can’t find anything worth sharing, which is silly really as this is a platform that actually really helps me see the beauty in all things motherhood (which as beautiful as it is is so hard a lot of the time too). I really need to learn to channel that and embrace it and use this space for healing and reflection, rather than closing it off at tougher times. But I’l work on that.

Any way, Autumn is here guys! my absolute favourite time of year. I love it. Well, honestly I’m a sucker for any changing season, I find it such an inspiring, optimistic time. I love digging out the different clothes and embracing a new series of traditions. So. Autumn. Fruit picking is something I LOVE with each season, nothing like strawberries in summer, blackberries come September. And I’m already so excited to visit Sopley next week to pick our pumpkins from a real pumpkin patch (an American tradition I just can’t get enough of). So when I saw on facebook that Killerton house were hosting an apple picking festival I knew we had to go. We had no idea what to expect but we headed out and I can honestly say it was my favourtie event I think we’ve done. It was the best! So geared to that toddling age group and just the empitome of Autumn. I couldn’t get enough of it. Some photos!

12342124The whole event was set in an apple orchard in the grounds of Killerton house. They provided buckets and wheel barrows for the kids to collect all the apples, it was just idyllic. We often struggle at events like this as they often seem to skip that toddler age bracket but this was completely different, it was so friendly and really grasped Elins imagination. If the kids are happy you can garentee a good day for the grown ups too, and in this case they served cider cocktails so you absolutely couldn’t go wrong.2325The toffee apples may have been a big factor to sell this event to Elin, actually.10981211Sometimes it takes stepping back to see how much your kids are changing. ‘Two’ hasn’t been terrible for Elin but it has absolutely been a massive learning curve for us both. I shouldn’t complain as she is very gentle, despite being a total pain, but like anything it has its challenges. This day we really saw how much Elin has grown and how we are leaving some of the frustrations that have plagued her behind. She waited so patiently in the queues for the tractors and was genuinely delightful to have with us, really engaging with each activity. Sometimes days out like this we get one quick cute photo (which obviously you share on social media) when the reality of the day was tears and tantrums and mummy loosing her shit. That one photo may have been the one second we plastered a fake smile and pretended we were having the time of our life. But actually this day we really did enjoy each other and were the proud owners of happy kids. Horay!

7Favourite photo of the moment!652214This face paint though! Elin asked for hers done and we both knew how it would end up, we’d queue, she’d get to the front, the lady would dare to touch her and Elin would declare she was finished. We tried to talk her out of queuing but she was adamant so we just went with it. You wouldn’t think it but Elin can be quite an anxious child and her stranger danger has been through the roof at times and she loves her personal space more than anything. So for her to happily sit there and have her face painted by a total stranger is HUGE. and it made my mumma heart swell with pride. She declared she is a princess now and I am permanently melted. How the hell does face paint have the ability to do that to a mum? What is wrong with me!1315161718And then if the day couldn’t get any better you are able to press your own apples to make apple juice! It was so exciting for me let alone a two year old. As parents we like to give Elin an understanding of where food comes from and shes always actively part of preparing and cooking meals (whether I like it or not) so anything that gives us an opportunity to show her that is really lovely. And you can see just how proud she was of herself too! It was just lovely.19Thank you so much Killerton! You created a space so fun and engaging and really celebrated the apple for all that its worth and you’ll be the first thing in next years diary as we couldn’t get enough of you. You also made a toddlers day so for that I am grateful!

Have a great week everyone.

 

 

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Sorry about the awful quality of these pictures, meal times are busy enough without getting out our proper camera so these are sadly just snapped on my phone. I could pretend I’l do better but I doubt I will so these will have to do! Heres some of what we’ve been enjoying this week.20953571_1514487728611894_6066646324835456700_n1) Omlet bites. We picked up some over proof ramekins at a free exchange in our village and they’ve been perfect for making little bite size things for the girls. I’ve been wanting a silicon baking tray for a while but these do the job just as well. For these I just whisked up an egg and filled the ramekin adding, in this case, tomato and ham and topping with cheese. Then I baked in the oven on 180 for about 10 minutes. Etty especially loved these as they are so soft while she doesn’t have teeth. You could fill them with anything though and use up all your veggies, pretty much pack them with goodness! I definitely think they’d be nice with spinach and mushrooms too.

2)This was a sunday morning brunch for us all. Eggy bread cubes using a lovely cobb loaf and a side of fruit (raspberries and nectarines here). For the adults and an extra treat for our biggest we had them coated in cinnamon sugar too!

3)Porridge is the standard breakfast in our house. This is Elin’s bowl but etty had the same, we just chopped her banana length way so she could handle it better. We just use standard porriage oats and make it up with what ever milk we have in the house. Usually cows or soy milk. This bowl had poppy seeds and dates added. (Elin likes to add her own bits and bobs from the jars we keep in the kitchen. It makes her feel involved in the cooking process I guess. We have jars of seeds, nuts, dried fruit, coconut etc and she picks a different selection most mornings)

4)Dinner of potato wedges, tuna and spinach with cream cheese, corn on the cobb and a side of green vegetables. This went down so well with both girls! We cut the corn on the cobb in half so Etty could handle it better. She also seems to love broccoli the most right now. Elin tried hard popping the mini peas out of the mange tout.

5) I made up a quick snack for Etty of unsalted rice cakes. On top I added a spread I’d made up of dates, pea nut butter and a tablespoons of water, blitzed for a 20 seconds in the microwave. She loved it and ate Elin’s too (who was too busy playing play dough to eat). Peanut butter can be a tough one to introduce as lots of people worry about allergies but its now recommend to introduce from 6 months as long as no history of allergies.We use the brand Meridian as its not full of nasties and salt and sugar; its just pea nuts. We like the crunchy but thats just preference!

6) Natural greek yoghurt, fruit and nuts. Important to point out this is Elin’s, not Etty’s, plate. Etty had the same except the nuts I chopped up and mixed through the yogurt (no whole nuts for under ones). She had the pineapple and raspberries but no grapes yet (she doesn’t have her pincer grip just yet so I haven’t introduced. Elin’s grapes are always cut length ways and will be for a long time) I know lots of people aren’t sure how to introduce foods like yogurt or porridge when practicing baby led. Just because you typically don’t offer purees doesn’t mean you can’t offer sloppy food. We just use pre loaded spoon and let Etty control bringing those to her mouth (or chin, eyebrows or the floor). Or she just forgets the spoon altogether and dives in with her hands. Either way she’s still in control of what she’s eating.

7) Cauliflower cheese and spinach stuffed potato skins. 

8)chicken and vegetable stirfry. Noodles are a favourite for both girls it seems, Etty was shoveling these in by the fistful. The only difference I did for her was serve her plateful before adding the soy sauce. Veg I used was purple broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, peppers and onions and I also had some fried pineapple in there as well as chicken breast. Etty doesn’t have teeth yet but we still offer her strips of meat as its good for her to get used to the sight and texture of these foods. Plus difficult food helps her develop her jaw and facial movements and learn how to chew and manipulate these things. Its actually amazing how much those gums can do while chewing on a strip of chicken.

9)another breakfast. (Etty doesn’t get cheerios yet, but she had more toast than Elin!). This day Elin had chia seeds and coconut as well as banana.

Its been an amazing first week of weaning for Etty! I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, I thought Elin took to it well but this is something else; she is demolishing meal times (but not dropping breastfeeds as milk should still be her main food for a while yet!) Its been a slight challenge for Elin as she learns to share meal times with her sister but after some teething issues she’s really enjoying being altogether. We’ve made a big deal that she is teaching Etty and how important that is. We’ve also given in and got her the exact same high chair, the same doidy cup, etc etc, pick your battles and all that. I’l come back and share some more meal ideas soon!

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Baby Led Weaning!

1Taking a break from all our travel posts to share the big adventure our little Ettienne Rose is just starting with the world of food! She is a little shy of 6 months but showing all the signs of readiness and when she’s whipping food off our plates and straight into her little mouth it felt right to follow her lead and dive in.

We practiced baby led weaning with Elin and loved it! There’s no right or wrong way to introduce food but baby led just felt right for us and I really understood and related to the ethos behind it. It really benefited our big E and suited our family as a whole. For the most part shes a fab little eater now (I mean she’s still 2 so has her moments, but overall!) so we knew we’d do the same this time. I could write loads about the benefits and the skills it develops in babe, but all that can be picked up from Gil Rapley’s book (pretty much the goddess of baby led!) and I don’t want to get all preachy. Basically baby led means offering the food we eat, as we eat it.  And letting baby feed themselves from the off, being in control of what they put in their own bodies. It works for us, but however you wean your baby some of the meals we share could be appropriate for you, too.52I’m planning to share our journey as we go with what we’re eating together. Even though Elin is well and truely weaned I’l be sharing lots of her eating too; food is an ever changing relationship with babies and kids, so I never really consider her journey ‘finished’.

Its definitely important to say that every photo is just a snap shot in time and childhood. Before and after they could have been being prize tw*ts. Elin can certainly be a diva at meal times and its not always fun and games or fun at all (I’m sure Etty will learn those tricks in good time too) but I like to be positive and make this a positive space (although realistic too.) I can’t lie; its bloody satisfying when both kids sit nicely and enjoy a healthy hearty meal you’ve lovingly prepared. But at the same time sometimes those frozen fish fingers end up no where but the floor. Its all about balance I guess. 3I’m by no means a chef (just ask james!) and I’m the first to admit that I don’t know a whole heap about food and nutrition, so I’m learning as I go. But I do think food is vitally important and making healthy choices for our Littles is definitely something we should priorities. I also believe in pancke friday! (Everything in moderation, right?!) I’m going to aim to do a weekly round up (this will likely slip into monthly but I’l do my best!) of meal ideas that are weaning AND two year old approved. Basically what we’re all enjoying together. So keep coming back and check insta if you’re interested in this sort of thing. I know how hard it can be to find inspiration for meal times and how down heartening it can be at times and I’m always learning and find the advice from other mums invaluable in our own lives. (like, how have I only just learned about pizza toast after two years?!) So if this gives another mumma a fresh new idea then I’l consider it a win in my eyes! Watch this space 🙂

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Pier 51, and a trip of a life time!

pier51 2These pictures are from our morning spent on Pier 51. The whole New York trip involved scouting out the best play grounds for the girls and we couldn’t have picked one with a more picturesque back drop. I just love these pictures we snapped while Elin was busy playing and being her usual two year old self.

I’m gonna use this post to include a few tips for travelling with littles because I really think travel is something every parent should brave if they so wish. Babies are no reason not to access some of the amazing places in the world, and if anything, make the travel experience so much better! As a family some of my favourite memories are made whilst travelling and I don’t think people should be put off by the prospect, so here’s some things we’ve learned through our own adventures.pier51 1pier51 5pier51 411pier51 3As soon as we put up on facebook about to embark on the flight the first comment was along the lines of ‘wow, you guys are brave!’ I really don’t think we are, and we are certainly by no means some sort of super parents. But we love travelling together and we haven’t found a reason yet not to embrace that now that we are parents. The prospect can be pretty daunting I suppose, but we’ve found our children can be just as sh*tty in England as they can abroad. Often more so.

James works bloody hard for our family and time off is rare (read: non existant) so any extended time together has always been whilst actually on holiday. So from my point of view I have it a lot easier when away from home as I always have a second pair of hands which is a real luxury! But its also amazing to have  quality time altogether but in some really beautiful places too. Some of my favourite memories are made whilst we explore new places together and we always seem to connect so well whilst away. It turns out parenting on holiday isn’t so different from parenting while at home except for the fact we are both so on the ball that things actually run smoother.pier51 6pier51 7Obviously Elin has a whole heap of energy we have to get out, but even Etty is needing space and time to stretch out more and more. We’re always looking for chances to ‘get their wiggles out’ (I write that so much on this blog) and whether that’s a child designated space or we have to get a bit more inventive (like the times square steps) we find that helps massively in keeping the girls happy. They are both so much more amenable to being popped in the pram or carrier if they’ve had that time to move around themselves before hand. Its a fair enouh trade off, I think. pier51 8pier51 11pier51 16pier51 12When James and I used to go away we would cram in as much as we could. We’d look back through our camera roll and the pictures from the morning would feel like another day as we’d been SO busy and on the go the whole time. We can’t (maybe we could but we wouldn’t want to) keep that same pace with the kids. It would be so stressful and miserable children is no fun for anyone.

We’ll often make a list of our absolute must see things in a country or city, a few maybes that we would be okay to bump and space out those ‘activities’ throughout our trip. It means we get what we want from the holiday but also don’t stress ourselves out. We always factor in a child friendly activity every day of the trip. So maybe we do something for us in the morning and focus on the girls in the afternoon. A little research before a trip goes a long way to keep things running smooth. So for example this day we choose the Pier for the girls as James was visiting the 9/11 museum that day. It was all in close proximity and we could even include nap time as we walked- win win.

But essentially we keep an itinery very loose and are happy to chop and change as needed. Although we do try and set out in the morning with a goal and a rough idea of what we want to get up to (so that we don’t forget basically) we also allow relaxed days with nothing to do what so ever. I think with kids in general you need to be so flexible and getting too bogged down with plans can make it feel like more hard work.

pier51 13pier51 9When we go away we often like an Air B n B. This particular trip our friends actually surprised us with one which was the most exciting treat ever as we’d planned to cram in with them and some other wedding guests- James and I were like excited children running around our studio apartment on an absolute, sleep deprived high. (Massive thanks to Tom and Alyssa for that, you guys are incedible!) But we go for an Air B’n’B because it just offers a lot more home comfort for kids. The addition of a kitchen is also a bonus so that their meal times aren’t affected, and it keeps costs down. (we have yet to perfect the family of four dining experience in resturaunts!)

The first thing we do is find  a super market (hello Target!) and buy enough to last us the trip. We’ll usually do a second fresh fruit shop after about day three; this is literally no different than if we were at home. We load up on familiar snacks for the girls (mostly Elin at this stage but eventually Etty too) so that she has things that she’s used too. During this trip it was cashew nuts, cheerios, yoghurts, oats and strawberries but whatever it is we find keeping some food the same helps her adapt. There’s nothing worse then a jet lagged HUNGRY two year old and familiarity helps with that. We pack a massive lunch box (I’ve got my eyes on YUM box, they look so good- that’ll be my first treat when we next splurge) and that helps keep our daily spending down. It will include all her snacks and some bribes too (both our Italy and New York trip she’s consumed so many buscuits, oops!) as well as something substantial to have at midday. Two years of parenting and we find snacks can avert a whole load of potential meltdowns. Snacks and naps solve so much haha!

(Also WATER. we need to always carry water with us, and for us parents too. Another thing to add to the shopping list is a Little Sparrow personalized water bottle for me and James as we are always remembering for the kids and never ourselves! https://littlesparrowshop.co.uk/products/700ml-personalised-water-bottle )
1412pier5110pier51 14I talked in a previous post how we get on with just a single buggy, a buggy board and a trusty carrier. It works for us and our age gap, and the personality of our babies but obviously each family set up is different and also places have different levels of accessibility with the buggy too. I really do think baby wearing makes travel just SO much easier with kids. Whether it was navigating the airport or covering miles by foot the wrap was invaluable. And even Elin got some babywearing time in as we climbed the mountain Up State!

Obviously as the girls get older our travel arrangements for them will have to shift a little, but I’m sure we’ll embrace that too. I can’t imagine not exploring with them and discovering new places together. I’m so excited to show them the world! This was the first trip Elin will really remember and I love that these could be her first memories. She’s talking about it so much and comes out with little tip bits that I know the whole thing was more than worth it. There is literally no reason not to travel as a family but a hundred reasons to do so. So if you’re contemplating a trip but the children mean you’re on the fence, just go. Absolute worst case scenario, at least they get to act up in a brand new exciting place. Best case; you have the trip of a life time and happy content children leave you feeling just the tiniest bit smug (it all balances out eventually!)

Take the trip, say yes, make the memories. If nothing’s stopping you, don’t stop. That’s how we ended up with this as our summer and I am SO grateful!cover photopier51 15