Our Top 10 Travel Must Haves #MarkWarnerMum

By A Wee Bit of Cake - February 26, 2017

I relish family time whether we are off on an adventure or snuggling at home, those precious moments together are priceless. Now I'm back at work after almost a year off on maternity leave we find our evenings are so busy from the moment we get in from work until we finally go to bed that snatched moments together have become even more important.

I finish work at 4:30pm, pick Ethan up from nursery at 4:50pm and we get home around 5:20pm. We have a cuddle and a play and if he's in good form I'll prep dinner (unless it's in the slow cooker). Bath time is at 6pm and this is when Mr T usually arrives home from work. One of us bathes Ethan while the other is getting his bedtime bits ready. Time slows for a little bit as I feed him before he goes to sleep then it's downstairs to make dinner while Mr T catches up on work emails, we eat, clean up, he possibly has some marking or lesson planning to do while I repack Ethan's nursery bag and before we know it it's bedtime and we have to start the whole process all over again.

There are some days I feel like we are ships passing in the night and we barely get to connect as a couple never mind as a family but then before we know it the weekend rolls around and for two whole days time slows. We can stay in our pyjamas until lunchtime watching CBeebies, there is time to cook and play and just mooch about. Sometimes I'll bake or Mr T will tackle another item on our ever growing DIY list but whatever we choose to do the time is our own and we are all together. Yes, being married to a teacher means he's always got an element of school work to do on a weekend but it's on his terms and not ruled by a timetable. Some Sundays he is locked away in the spare room doing work and it's just me and my boy but I know he does this for us and to give us a good life.

The baby years are so precious and fleeting and already I find myself looking back at photos and videos to remind myself of how little Ethan was a year ago. I did my utmost to savour every moment of it and to use maternity leave to its full advantage. There is many a day I find myself longing for those days again when life was slower, I could spend time with Mr T on an evening and we got to enjoy some quality family time over every half term. As I've already mentioned Mr T works very long hours so to know we had him to ourselves for one whole week every 6 weeks was pretty special. Last summer we took advantage of both of us being off for those 6 weeks to cram in as many memories as possible. Yes, the broken toe scuppered his diving trip but it did mean an impromptu trip to Ireland and I got to show him the beauty of the West Coast (and how cold it is in August - even the need to light a fire!) We also enjoyed a few UK city breaks and took Ethan on his first trip to the British Seaside.

As each week gets busier than the last I find myself pining for the summer again. I know this year we won't have 6 weeks off but I'll make sure to use up some of my annual leave for more family adventures. We may or may not get a trip abroad (hello moving house and sapping all our funds) but it hasn't stopped me putting together a wish list of our top 10 travel must haves that we would take on our first family holiday abroad.

1. Mr T has been scuba diving for years with BSAC and the crazy man usually dives in Scotland but whenever we go abroad he will try and find somewhere that offers the chance to dive in a warmer climate. For us no holiday is complete without him packing a few diving essentials.

2. We love to explore the area beyond our hotel and often hire a car when we are away. We've had all sorts from a battered Peugot with it's bumper half screwed on to a fancy Chevrolet Camaro convertible when we were on Honeymoon but whatever the vehicle it's been amazing to leave behind the touristy places and see the country for what it truly is.

3. Considering the fact Mr T hates having his photo taken he loves to be the man behind the camera when we are away, whether that's snapping photos of places of interest or videoing a fight with a lobster on a dive (true story!), he will always capture so many memories from our holiday.

4. I love a good book but since I got my Kindle it makes reading on holiday so much easier. No longer am I eating into my luggage allowance with books, I can load them onto my Kindle freeing up space for more clothes and shoes.

5. Speaking of clothes I do love a good summer dress. I plan to stop breastfeeding soon so I'm looking forward to being able to wear clothes next summer that don't involve boob access. How adorable is this dress from Lindybop and even better it's in the sale!

6. I'm such a milk bottle (Irish skin and all that) so I can't go out without lathering myself in Factor 50 suncream and even then I can still burn. I would love to tan as easily as Mr T but I now just embrace being pasty white - it's perfectly fashionable yes?

7. Ethan hasn't been abroad yet but now he's crawling about and will hopefully be walking by summer we need to get him a Trunki. We are a tiny bit obsessed by dinosaurs and how cool is this one? I can totally see him whizzing through the airport on it come summer.

8. For us no holiday is complete without a spot of swimming. I've always admired the Konfidence range of swimwear and how adorable is this baby wetsuit? Mr T wants to instill a love of water in Ethan therefore the earlier we can introduce him to it the better.

9. Good old Apple, how did parents cope before the iPad existed? Ethan's a bit little to be let loose with crayons to do a spot of colouring on a journey so the iPad provides the perfect entertainment. From games to cartoons, it is the perfect electronic babysitter that everyone needs.

10. And finally Trip Advisor! Now I know it's not a physical item but we can't be without this app when we go on holiday. From checking out places to visit and where to eat (cake shops!) especially now we have a little person in tow, it really is a lifesaver.

So there you have it, our top 10 holiday essentials. Now we just need summer to arrive with a good old dose of sunshine!

It looks like Ethan is all ready for his holidays!

***This is my entry into the Mark Warner 2017 Blogger Ambassador Program. Fingers crossed! Normal cake and baby spam shall resume shortly.***

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  1. I loved this post, even without a baby the weeks can feel like they slip by too quickly just trying to carry on surviving, I too cherish the weekends when we get to relax, for example it's a Saturday morning and I'm still in my pyjamas commenting on blog posts :-)

    I hope you get to have a summer holiday this year, I'm sure that no matter what you do you'll have a lovely time.

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench