Sunday, 21 January 2018

TRAVEL // 22 TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY


1. Buy a pack of milton sterilising wipes for each way. As soon as you sit get to your seat, wipe down anything and everything that your bubba may touch/lick/chew. You may get a few looks from people thinking you're mental but at least you and your baby won't pick up any bugs.

2. Separate your baby stuff into two suitcases, in case one goes missing.

3. Don't take your usual pram, especially if it's like our iCandy and comes in two parts. I saw a couple trying to quickly separate and collapse theirs and get it safely in its case while in the queue. Why stress? Especially as it could go missing or get damaged. We used a cheap collapsable stroller for mauritius, and for NYC we've bought a second hand city mini stroller. We've used it once to trial it and LOVED it. She slept for 2.5 hours it in, can't recommend it enough. Though whichever one you get, make sure it fully reclines and is sturdy.

4. Leave more time than you think you'll need. Everything takes twice as long with a baby.

5. DO NOT DO A RED EYE (night flight). Unless you have a newborn, or a baby who will sleep anywhere and through anything, it's just not worth the risk! Our flight left at 15:00 and Alice refused sleep until 00:30. Then when she finally went to sleep (after me crying and the air hostess taking her for a bit), the seatbelt signs went on at 01:30 which meant I had to get her out of her cot thing, sit her on my lap and plug her into her belt.

6. If you can't get bulkheads, book two seats either end of row of three, leaving one in the middle . Chances are no one will book the one in the middle, but even if they do if it's a busy flight, they will offer to swap as they won't want to sit in between a baby being passed to and fro.

7. When checking in you will get the choice to either check in the buggy with the suitcases or take buggy up to the gate. Definitely take it up to the gate!! That way baby can sleep while you're eating/drinking at the airport or just give your arms a break.

8. Following on from the point above, all airports offer the service of taking the buggy at the gate but
not many offer for it to be brought back up to you at the plane doors after. Even if they do offer this I would advice to not do it, instead get it brought round with the rest of the luggage. This is because it could take a while for it to be brought up to the plane doors when instead you could be getting ahead of the queues and your baby will probably want a get going anyway! Also, buggies are brought on a separate conveyer for larger items so it's easy to collect.

9. Do however, take a buggy travel bag or at least a bike lock around it to keep it together, you can never be too sure how they will handle it. Even if it is cheap you don't want it to be broken on arrival.

10. Make sure baby sleeps before the flight. Alice was too excited and didn't sleep much before the flight so when we got on there she was overtired, and that's never a good idea but especially not on a confined flight.

11. If you really are struggling, give bubba some calpol on take off and landing! The way there was so horrendous that on the way back I was really nervous. There was a mum near me who I was speaking to who had a baby about 10 months. He was really kicking off on the take off and then I looked over a few minutes later and he was asleep?! I mouthed to her 'how?!' (while alice was crying on me and refusing to sleep)...she said she always gives him a little calpol before take off and landing. I tried her with a bit of calpol and she went off to sleep in Jason's arms, and on the landing it worked a treat!

12. Before the flight at the gate, and in the queue and once you get to your seats, get your baby to 'flirt' with plane neighbours. That way, when they cry, people are more likely to smile

13. Do show that you're trying your best. There was a little girl screaming the majority of the return flight (12 hours?!) and the parents were literally sitting there watching a film with a drink! It made everyone around really annoyed and less tolerant. However, the people around me were so so lovely and understanding, because they could see I was going out of my mind trying!

14. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help! The air hostesses were itching to hold Alice and take her off my hands, as are the ladies in the security areas and things. 

15. Take more snacks/milk than you need. If your baby is over 6 months/eating solids then take lots of their favourite snacks plus a few extra special treats. Traveling makes them hungry and snacks are a great distraction if things go sour.

16. If you're bottle feeding, like us, then i'd suggest buying ready made bottles for the flight. You can take as much baby food through security, and if you're having an emergency, the last thing you want to do is be asking for boiled water and then cooling it down etc. If you don't like the ready made ones, you could also take a flask of boiled water. That way you can dispense as and when you need. This is probably better if your babies a bit older and feeds less, but if you have a younger baby who wants lots of milk, then I would just say buy the ready made ones as you really don't want to be faffing around with powder in an emergency. We took a mixture of both, as we knew we had a 12 hour flight plus travelling time, so that would have meant a LOT of pre made bottles and we didn't want to carry all of those. So we had some powder pots for the journey to the airport and once we were there, because we could just ask for hot water as and when we needed it. For this I suggest getting the powder pots as you can have all the formula pre measured AND they fit perfectly inside the bottles. Saves space and makes it so easy to just pour in rather than measuring out scoops.

17. Obviously, feed on take off and landing, if they will. If not distract with favourite toy or song.

18. Ditch the baby bag. They are not practical when you need your hands for passports and things. Instead take a rucksack with lots of compartments. For hand luggage, we took a rucksack which Jason wore, which had all the essentials we needed to quickly grab (wipes, a few nappies, one lot of milk, one little thing of snacks, one bib, one muslin, one dummy, sterilizing wipes). Then we had a big holdall with wheels which had all of the back up supplies, and both of our stuff. I then had a little across the body hand bag for phone, passports, keys, tickets etc. When we had to ditch the pram I put Alice's blankets in between the straps on the holdall.

19. Take a sturdy baby carrier (only take a wrap if your baby is newborn), it's essential for on the flight if baby won't sleep but also at airport when you don't have the buggy and need your arms for passports and bags.

20. I didn't know, but having a baby usually means you can skip most of the queues! At security at Gatwick there was a little area for families (not that obvious unless you ask) where they help you through the lines and things. And at both airport's passport control, there was a special line for people with babies/disabled. It was great! We got to go in front of all the first class passengers and everything. Too right though, having a (usually crying) baby in your arms and being in a long, sweating queue is not the one. So yeah, that's a bonus and if it's not obvious just ask!

21. Take your baby's favourite toy, comforter and blanket, but also buy a new exciting toy for them to have on the plane. We bought Alice this book and gave it to her on the flight and it kept her entertained for ages. This time, she'll be a little older and will need more stimulation so we are going to get something like this, a suction toy which we can put on the seat tray and will hopefully distract her. 

22. But above all things....try not to stress!!!!!! I know this is easier said than done but babies can 100% sense when you are stressed and it unsettles them and they inevitably play up. Have a drink, close your eyes and breathe. Will you ever see these people again? No. Is this journey forever? No. Are you about to have an awesome holiday? Yes! Even if like us, you do end up on a red eye and your baby won't sleep, they will probably sleep the entire following day so you'll be able to enjoy some quiet! And trust me, when you look back at this holiday, you'll think about the amazing time you had when you were there and not the journey.

Have I missed anything? We're going away next month so would love any more advice if you have it? And if you're going away, have a great time!!

Morgan Alice 
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Friday, 19 January 2018

MINI POST - A RECIPE // LOW CARB BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNE



When I shared that I was making this on my stories and asked if you guys would like the recipe, I had so many replies saying YES PLEASE! I don't think I had as many messages when I gave birth haha! Anyway, I'm making it again tonight so thought I would quickly write up my recipe. I've adapted a few I saw online to make it extra juicy, but unfortunately I didn't have time to do any fancy snaps, just a few iphone numbers! I'm not really one to follow recipes, I more of a bung it all in, taste test and then go from there! But I carefully took note of everything I used this time.

This recipe serves 4 comfortably. If i only have one pack of something, I half it to make it for just Jason and me and there's some leftovers for his lunch.  You will need a large lasagne dish and a large frying pan. 

Ingredients

Olive oil
One pack of ready made butternut squash lasagne sheets, I get mine from waitrose or sainsburys
One large jar of tomato and mascapone sauce
500g of low fat pork mince
One punnet of chestnut mushrooms
Fresh sage
Two onions
Fresh thyme (not essential, but if you have it around it makes for extra tastiness)
One tablespoon of tomato puree
One bag of spinach
Salt + Pepper
Parmesan cheese for the top

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 / gas mark 5. Finely chop up your mushrooms and onions. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and allow to heat up. Throw in the onions, fry for a few minutes until soft and then ad the pork mince. Once browned, stir in the mushrooms and a handful of torn sage leaves (and thyme) and fry until softened.

Add 3/4 of the sauce, saving some for the top, tomatoes and puree, stir and then salt a pepper to taste (I like a peppery kick). Once mixed, add in the bag of spinach and stir until wilted and covered in sauce.

Now it's time for the fun part, layering! Start with a layer of the pork mixture followed by a few sheets of butternut squash lasagne. The bigger the dish the more sheets needed. Keep going with this process until you run out of mixture or sheets, but make sure you finish on the sheets. Use a spatula to spread the remaining sauce across the final layer of lasagne sheets. Grate a generous amount of parmesan across the top (we usually go far too overboard with this).

Place in the oven for 50 minutes. Take out once a goldeny crust has formed on the top. Leave to sit for 10 minutes with foil over the top, to 'set' a little. Serve with a lovely crisp salad (we use rocket drizzled in extra virgin olive oil). If you want to make it spread a little further, it's also delicious with sweet potato fries! Less carb free but healthy-ish and so tasty.

Enjoy!

Morgan Alice 
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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

TRAVEL // MAURITIUS PHOTO DIARY


Hey everyone! It's been an age since I last blogged, so sorry! But I've been taking some time out. We were away from the end of November to just before Christmas. We booked to go to Mauritius for some winter sun ages ago (before Alice was born), and then my parents told us they had booked to go to the Lake District for a week and would we like to come, which of course we did. Coincidently, it happened that it was booked for the day after we were to arrive back in England. So... we came back late thursday night and left early friday morning. Busy busy busy. SO worth it though. 

So... we went to the tropical island of Mauritius in the middle of our bleak winter, for a week of pure relaxation and family time. Bliss! It was a 12 hour flight and Alice's first at 6 and a half months old. I will do a proper post on flight tips with a baby but let's just say DO NOT book a red eye (night flight) with a baby! The way there was a red eye and at one point, after crying and an air hostess taking Alice, I looked at Jason and said, "I can't believe we are paying for this torture" haha!! The way back was a day flight and was so so much better. I didn't even cry! 

The calm before the storm... 

Eventually, after what seemed like hours upon hours of darkness outside the plane, the sun started to rise and we could see the lushest green of the island peaking through the clouds. If you've ever been to Mauritius, you'll know what I mean about the island, it's so green! We arrived early morning and as soon as we stepped off the plane, the wave of intense heat greeted us. I don't think i'd planned for it to be so hot that early in the morning, and I had to carry Alice through the airport while sweating through my leggins. Niiiice! 

We were greeted by our private transfer (with air conditioning and a lovely car seat for Alice) and from that moment onwards, we were in pure luxury! We said how pleased we were we paid extra for the private transfer as we were both absolutely shattered, after missing out on a whole night of sleep, and couldn't imagine anything worse than stopping at a load of people's resort when all we wanted to do was get to ours and get changed! Alice slept the whole drive to the airport and most of the day after that, catching up on all that sleep she refused on the plane. 


And just like that, we were there! We stayed at the Ravenala Attitude through Kuoni and  as soon as we got there, we both agreed it was worth the stressful journey. You just can't get the same feeling of a tropical Indian Ocean island (palm trees, crystal water, hot all year round) anywhere nearer. We were greeted by an array of staff, who just couldn't do enough for you. They whisked out bags away, gave us fresh iced tea and a hot towel. From that moment on we didn't lift a finger all week. Our most stressful decision was deciding which restaurant to each in! The first image we had of the hotel was the picture above (snapped on my iphone), a huge wooden entrance terrace looking over one of the pools, where we sat while we checked in. They had a luxurious welcome/comfort room that we went in to have showers, freshen up, and all change into our swimwear. We arrived quite early (08:00) so were sent down to have breakfast while they took all of our bags to our villa and got it prepared. 

We'd arrived! This was our first time walking out to the beach

After the jet lag and fog from the first day had cleared, and we had settled in to beach/resort life, we found our little mini routines. We'd go for a leisurely breakfast, go back to our room and get ready for the day and then walk down to the pool. Alice would usually fall asleep in the stroller with the snuzshade and would have a nice long nap in there while we got set up at the pool. We both got stuck into our books (I read the girl on the train which I LOVED and Jason read murder on the orient express) and ordered a few iced lattes with the pool guy. That was something I really really loved about this resort was the service wherever you were. Beach. Pool. Room you could get whatever you wanted. 


The food was just amazing! The best food i've had on a resort. All the staff (particularly at the breakfast restaurant) were so so lovely with Alice. They made such a fuss of her and she flirted back. They held her, got her food, cleaned up after her, played with her...basically the opposite of most waiters in England. The picture above was after breakfast where we sat at the bar, having iced coffees and dipped Alice's feet in the pool for the first time, preparing her for the big dunk later that day. 


The beach area was definitely our favourite. We went there pretty much every day for lunch, either at the O Beach Bar or Beach BBQ, and every day for drinks whilst watching the sunset. All inclusive is so worth it for unlimited wines, bubbly and cocktails! The sunsets there were incredible, I think I took about 20 photos of it every night. I'll try to just pick my best to post on here.  For me, I don't think you can feel as relaxed on holiday as watching the sunset, drink in hand, with the warm sun beams on your face. 

Lunch at the O Beach




We absolutely loved the pool area at the resort. It never felt busy or overcrowded, you could always get a sunbed and table, and there was always someone on hand to bring you whatever drink you wanted. It was so clean too. You know at some resorts the pool always looks a bit grubby... Ahhh what I would do to be back there now! 

Doing her new party trick! 

Iphone snap of the pool area at night time, it looked so beautiful with all the twinkly pool lights. We loved eating at the restaurants that looked into the pool area, and sitting at the pool bar listening to the evening music. 

An iphone snap that was too cute not to share!

We tended to go to the pool in the morning, as Alice could sleep under a tree with her snuzshade. Then we'd make our way to the beach in the afternoon. I didn't really want Alice to go the sea in case some went in her mouth and I'd read horror stories about that! We did walk her in along the shore though, so she could feel the waves on her feet. She loved it! Babies don't always love something the first time, but don't let that put you off, by the second or third time they get used to it. It took Alice three times in the pool to properly love it. It was so hot by 11am and bit dangerous by the beach as there was a disguising breeze. I got a bit slap happy with the factor 50 spf on Alice. I was paranoid about her getting burnt! That's why I preferred the swimsuits to the costumes, as they covered up more of her little body. I got all of ours from Mamas and Papas. 



This little two piece outfit is from Marks and Spencer's, I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and thought it was perfect for holiday. Unfortunatly she won't have any more opporunities to wear it as by the time summer is here, it'll be too small! So i'm selling this, and other holiday bits on my instagram page @alice_ivy_

Is there a better view than blue skies and palm trees?
Her first time in the float...look at that frowny face!
Not impressed with our family selfie is she!
The most beautiful final sunset!

And just like that, it was time to fly home again!  We always said we didn't want to let having a baby be the end of the things we really love, which is going on holiday. I completely understand why some choose not to do it. But as soon as we got there, we had the most perfect time. Is travelling with a baby easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Stay tuned for my next post which will be tips for flying with a baby. 



Morgan Alice 
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