How to fly with small children: Travelling Circus

A friend recently mentioned to me that she was flying to New Zealand (or it could have been Australia and I misheard over the kids being kids) which is exciting. They are a family of four, including a newly turned four year old and a newly turned one year old, and it will be the first time they have flown with the kids.

Being a serial vacationist and all, I thought I would look back over my travel blogs and amalgamate them into one big updated travel blog for her, and anyone else who is brave enough to fly with small people.

Where to start… tips for travelling with small children:

Packing: I am OCD when it comes to holiday packing.  I start about a week before we fly.  I get the clothes out and make sure they are washed.  I put together a weeks worth of outfits and thats the cut off as I use washing facilities while away, and I make sure everything matches – this is for each person as well – so that it minimises the luggage.  I’m actually going for a PB on our next trip, we can fly with either two medium suitcases, or a medium case and a surfboard bag – this trip I’m going for a board bag and a cabin suitcase, and no buggy!  Its going to be epic.  A week also allows me time to organise things like sunscreen and nappies which can be pricey abroad, and also travel money (I do not go shopping with the kids because its a pain in the ass, so sometimes I need to have all this planned five days in advance depending on the husbands work schedule).  I could dedicate an entire blog post to just packing.

Car seats: I have travelled with car seats and I have rented them from the car rental companies.  Obviously its easier to rent them but they seem to rapidly be heading north in the expense region.  Flying with them is fine, you just need to wrap them up and use an isofix protector if you want the bars to stay intact.  I’ve had to claim a new car seat before and it was pretty easy.

Sleeping: I never fly with a travel cot, I always order one through the accommodation and check that it comes with sheets…  My kids both use/used grow bags to sleep in at home, so I fly with a grow bag for my youngest so that he’s sleeping in what he’s used to.  If he sleeps well, everyone sleeps well.  And whatever you do, don’t forget their sleeping feely’s/stuffed animals.  Also ask for a mattress protector or take one with you if they are newly nappy free at night.

Plane cot: If you’re flying long haul, you can be put on a list to request a bulkhead seat where a plane cot can be attached to the ‘wall’.  I have never had this luxury due to age and timings, but seeing people fly with them – they look like they make life easier.

Food: If you’re flying long haul then pre order the kids meals.  You can also take their favourite foods/snacks with you as well.

Milk: If your kids/babies/toddlers like milk then you can fill your bottles up before you fly and travel with a cool-bag.  This will be put into a machine and tested at security.  You can also buy milk from a restaurant or cafe in the airport and fill the bottles up then.  Or nicely ask an air hostess once on the plane.  Another friend of mine travels with small bottles/cartons of follow on milk which is sold by the baby formula brands, which I think is a great idea as it doesn’t need to be kept cold.

iPad: Another friend of mine once told me to buy an iPad before we flew to Florida.  We now don’t fly without one, especially on the short haul flights where the seats don’t have personal TV sets attached.  They are also very handy for delays.  Make sure its fully charged and that you’ve downloaded a couple of movies and a few episodes of their favourite programmes.  Travel with the charger handy.  If delayed, find a wifi spot for some kids you tube.

Goodie bags: The kids are allowed hand luggage, so I pack their little backpacks with activity, sticker and story books.  Also a set of kids headphones, snacks, small favourite toys and their cuddly toy.  They are set.

Baby/toddler carrier: Out of all the times I’ve flown with the kids, I’ve only had the buggy brought to the plane on landing once.  Is this an option?  Can you request it to be there?  It has never been there and one time it just magically turned up.  We learnt this the hard way – walking from the plane, standing in immigration lines and waiting at the baggage claim, all while carrying our baby/toddler.  From then on, we always fly with a carrier, that way the baby/toddler stays in one place, is usually quiet because they’re on you, and you have your hands free to keep taking your passport out and putting it away again.

Supplies: I always travel with a spare set of clothes for both kids.  If they spill something or wet themselves with no change of clothing, you’re fucked.  Make sure you have enough nappies on board to last an extra day incase delayed.  Don’t wear white.  Order wine when you can.

Nappies/wet wipes: I take them everywhere with me.  I have checked the supermarkets in Spain, France, Portugal, America (Florida), Dubai and South Africa and the standard packs you can buy from Aldi for £4 (52/56 nappies) cost anywhere between £18 – £25 in said countries.  I’ve also had a packet of baby wet wipes cost £8!!  WTF.  Worth checking before you fly if you’re pushed for space.  I put a couple of packs of nappies in the car seats before I wrap them and duct tape them in bubble wrap and bin liners – glamorous, I know.

Calpol: I used to take calpol with me to quieten the kids down but I’m not sold that it actually works.  I always fly with it though incase they are actually ill, nothing worse than a poorly baby on a flight.

Thick skin: If you have kids you know that they are not aways little angels. What better time to perform to an audience than in a confined aeroplane cabin.  If you baby/toddler/child is screaming, someone will always tut, sigh loudly, glare at you, turn around and look over the seat or give you some advice.  You know your child so you know they’re just bored, tired, agitated or their ears hurt while the planes descending.  Obviously you try to keep your kids on a leash, physically and emotionally, but it doesn’t always go to plan, and the sooner you learn not to care when it all goes tits up, the better.

Holiday: At the end of all the travelling you have a holiday!  Which is not like a pre kids holiday, but its quality family time, which to me, is awesome.  Its definitely getting a bit easier now they kids can walk, eat anything and sleep well.

Happy holidays!

t r a i n i n g

Baby number one, check.  Got back into shape, check.  Baby number two, check.

Now its time to get back into shape for the second (and last time – no more babies!). Everyone I’ve spoken to said it was much harder the second time around to get your body back.  I’ll be honest and admit to thinking it was a load of bullshit and that if you really wanted your figure back, you’d do it. ***

Ahhhhh sweet ignorance.

Well now I’m smack dab right in the middle of it.  Five months post baby and not an ab in sight.  The fact that I’ve done completely bugger all for the past couple of months might have something to do with it.

Why?  Why when I started out so well (power walking, yoga, circuits & wakeboarding), and then just stopped?

I’ll tell you why.

Its because I now have not one, but two kids.  Two little people demanding my undivided attention from 6am until 7:30pm, and then an hour or two in the night as well (from both kids on a bad night – turns out toddler sleep regression is actually a real thing).  I know this is only short term until the new baby goes through the night (or at least thats what I’m told), but I’m continuously exhausted and the thought of working out, or doing anything for that matter, seems like the biggest task in the world, (if the bathroom gets cleaned this month it’ll be a bloody miracle).

Its not all bad though as through all the power walking (while pushing a double buggy), living room yoga, kitchen circuits, clean eating, and wakeboarding, I’ve dropped the baby weight (had about a stone to shed), but now its time to tighten up.  I want to feel strong and energetic again.  Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.


I’ve started working with PT Chris Kelly to get me back into shape.  I know, first world problem to have a trainer, right?  However, I see it as an investment into myself.  How much are you willing to pay to get the ‘you’ you want back?  I could spend that money on booze (I probably would but Aldi now do a great, and cheap, wine selection), or I could spend it on a gym membership, which I’m not going to lie, I seriously thought about doing. But personally, me joining a gym doesn’t actually get me to the gym, I wouldn’t go and I’d be £££ worse off a month with no results.

Also the body has been through a hell of a lot with bringing a baby into the world and you need to be careful with how you train afterwards.  So I thought it best to seek professional advice, and as a coach myself, I know the benefits of having a coach and how they can see things you can’t and guide you towards your goals.

I’ve had three sessions so far and I’m feeling good.  I’m always so much happier after a workout because my body’s moving and my bloods pumping, I feel ready for the day ahead, that along with eating right keeps me sane!

*** I know everyone is different.  All different shapes and sizes.  Its about doing what is right for you and what makes you happy.  Some people are happy with their new postpartum body that has just created a child and thats great, it really is, the female body an incredible machine!  But I personally don’t feel happy in myself unless I know my body can do certain things.  And these are physical things, such as wakeboarding, which is tough on the body.  If my body can’t do what I want it to do, I’m not a happy chappy.  So I do all this to keep me on the water which keeps me happy! ***

Second time around.


Was second time around like going to the loo?  No.  It was not.  However, was it better than my first time?  Yes, it was.  I was induced with Ethan and ended up with an epidural and plenty of gross stuff going on in-between – it was a horrible experience.

With Oliver, I went into natural labour and had gas and air only when I was nearly ready to push.  Actually I got to the point where I asked for an epidural, the midwife left me to go sort it out, and when she came back in I was pushing!  The two best parts about it were that I actually got the urge to push (it took three contractions and he was out, 11 minutes to be precise – holy shitballs was it painful), AND I got skin to skin with him immediately, he stayed on my chest for over an hour, it was amazing.  How I thought it would be the first time around.

The after birth was not ideal as I was taken into theatre and was dealt with under general anaesthetic, which I was actually please about because I do not want any recollection as to what they did to me in there.  I lost a lot of blood too which made me feel like crap for a couple of weeks as well.  Blood loss tiredness on top of new baby tiredness equals a whole new level of tiredness.  I didn’t drive for over a week purely because I didn’t feel safe behind the wheel – you wouldn’t have wanted me on the roads.

I never felt the pain of pushing the first time, and I’m so increadibly happy I got to actually experience a natural childbirth this time around, it is an amazing experience and its what we are built to do.  Was it the most painful thing I have ever experienced? Yes it was….

Am I going to do it again?  Am I f**k.