Tips for flying with a toddler!


We recently took a short flight over to the U.K and while there was nothing luxurious about it there are a few tricks to making it go smoothly (not that we can do anything about the odd bit of turbulence…) Here are my tips for flying with a toddler:

My first step in preparing my toddler was to count down to the day itself, we started with months then weeks then days then hours! If he wasn’t excited enough already I also compared going on a plane to ‘flying through the air like Superman!’ He was delighted to tell this to anyone that would listen.

Another part of the build up to the big day was that I told him all the relatives we were going to be seeing, however unfortunately I didn’t make this clear enough as the minute we stepped off the aircraft he was wondering why everyone wasn’t standing at the bottom of the steps ready to greet him (maybe he has a notion that we’re VIPs!)

Thankfully as my son is now over the age of two he has his own seat and this means it’s easier to stretch our legs (easier not easy we are flying economy after all), there’s more storage space and he felt like a big boy with his own seatbelt.

With no TV screens in sight the iPad was a necessity, the only thing that caused a tantrum was the volume control. While I’m sure the other passengers didn’t mind the quiet hum of nursery rhymes playing, I think ‘Let It Go’ at full volume would have had them shouting ‘Make It Stop!’

Thankfully we were assured that we could leave our tablet on for the duration of the journey as long as we chose flight mode. Whoever came up with this ‘mode’ thank you from the bottom of my heart…

I’m so relieved that we’re not at the stage (and hope we never will be) of airlines requesting that only food purchased from them may be eaten onboard. It seems to be a universal rule that when children are bored they are also hungry (I have to include myself in this) and we devoured an insane amount between take off and landing. If we had to purchase everything we ate directly from the cabin crew I think we’d have spent more than we did on the flight itself! It’s definitely worth packing up lots of supplies.

While I’m on a roll on things I’m grateful for, next up is the fact that each passenger now gets an additional handbag sized bag. While we always brought these bags with us we no longer have to stuff them up our jumpers giving ourselves a fake pregnancy bump, or into our carry on which meant many a buckled zip.

I love allocated seating. We were quite happy to let Barney entertain E while we let everyone else fight it out to get to the front of the queue. We were actually last on the flight which was ideal because it meant less time strapped into our seats while we were safe in the knowledge that we had secured three in row together. In addition we gratefully accepted the offer for 2 pieces of our hand luggage to be checked in free of charge. It’s so much easier than trying to lug a child plus all of your bags up the plane steps.


So, while I can’t say that I enjoyed the travelling part of our trip it was definitely less stressful than it used to be. I don’t think I’m quite ready to try it without the help of my husband yet though…

So that’s my tips for flying with a toddler – any you’d add?

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Anyone Else…? Pt 4


…wondering why on earth they still set their alarm when they are woken every morning by a screaming child at 6 am on the dot?

…think that duplo is the most painful thing to stand on in bare feet! So why do I manage to do it on a daily basis?

…hoping that someone else volunteers to be Easter Bunny this year. Hunting for chocolate is my favourite hobby!

…loving the coffee shops that thoughtfully provide toys to keep the little one’s amused. It means they might even squeeze a second cappuccino out of me.

…so relieved now that their toddler can have their own seat on the aeroplane. 3 seats in a row for us and no poor strangers having to help out with spillages, tantrums and games of hide and seek.

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One of the hidden benefits of having babies…


Previously I’ve always hated it when skinny mini celebrity mothers have put their figures down to ‘running around after the children’. However I’m starting to realise that they might have a point. While dropping the baby weight is a long and arduous process for anyone that doesn’t have a dietician and personal trainer, I definitely agree that having children can help your general level of fitness. It’s no substitute for a swim or spinning class but I’m so much more active now on a day to day basis.

For a start lie ins are now non existent and there’s not a day goes by when I’m not up at 7am (Mother’s Day was a different story). The thing is, after getting over the initial dozy few minutes I appreciate the fact I’m making the most of my day. My toddler is a big fan of dancing and he will always demand I put down my cup of tea and join him. So while I haven’t attended a Morning Gloryville session (early morning dance workout for Dublin commuters) we enjoy our own unique version to the sounds of ‘row row your boat’ instead of rave music.

When you’re working in an office 99% of your time is spent sitting down and we all know how bad this is for your health. There are even apps for your phone that remind you to stretch your legs. Stay at home mothers have no need for these apps, instead they have a little person that will first yell and if this doesn’t have the desired effect, drag you into a standing position. You may then be required to kick a ball around the garden, do the obstacle course at the play centre or take them for a stroll around the block; all of the above get us moving.

The average toddler weighs as much as we would lift in the gym yet we don’t even count carrying them as exercise. Although they are perfectly capable of walking we all know there’s times when they won’t. Sometimes it’s an easy stroll from the supermarket back to the car, others you’re in the middle of the countryside with no buggy and miles ahead of you. In this circumstance it can feel like you’re competing in the Strongest Woman competition but with no prizes for winning. There’s also the mission of carrying them up the stairs and lifting them in and out of their car seat and cot; I knew that manual handing training would come in handy…

We may blame getting up and down like a yoyo during the night for us always feeling exhausted but the running around, chasing, catching and carrying that we do in the day contributes too; and our bodies are thanking us for it.

Footnote: for anyone wondering about the use of Ironman as my image; there’s no little girls in this house…

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Anyone Else…? Pt 3


…used to hate the hassle of washing their hair, now can’t wait for the opportunity to have some much needed ‘pampering’.

…fretting about how they’ll manage when their toddler stops needing to nap; no longer anytime for a full cup of tea, a flick around the Internet or a five minute phone call?!

…constantly complaining that all your money gets spent on your child yet the minute you’re told to treat yourself … find yourself coming home with bags of pressies for everyone but you.

…looking forward to Summer so that your kids can let off steam around the garden instead of around the kitchen table.

…wondering how no one has yet designed a bib that stops their little one wearing more of their food than what goes in their mouth.



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Supermarket Sweep


While I used to view the weekly shop as a boring chore I have now come to think of it as a series of obstacles that have to be overcome. I could compare it to an Olympic event and if so getting home with all the shopping intact is like winning a gold medal. It’s definitely as exhausting anyway…

The first mission is to get a parent and child parking space and if I’m successful then it feels like we’re off to a good start. Room to pull in and reverse out with ease even if I am in the process of singing ‘Baa baa black sheep’ whilst being wacked over the head with flying toys. There’s also enough room to manoeuvre the trolley right next to the car to get the little one in and out without fear of giving anyone a prang…

Next challenge; no matter how much I feed him before we leave the house the minute we step inside the store I will be faced with a starving child. The trouble is even the snacks I’ve packed in the changing bag won’t suffice; it has to be something off the shelf. Thankfully supermarkets seem to be very understanding about this predicament and don’t bat an eyelid so I’m obviously not the only one faced with this dilemma. Apples are first on the agenda and while at home they would be washed, peeled and cut into chunks this now goes out the window; the bag is torn open, and the one at the top is grabbed and bitten into like it’s the first thing he’s eaten in a week. Anything else that looks edible is sampled before tossing it back into the trolley now covered in saliva.

Once he is full to the brim it’s no longer a case of wanting to eat the produce but to help carry it. Every item we select I hear him chirp up ‘I’ll hold it’. It is then a case of making some quick judgements about what is and isn’t safe. Some are more obvious than others and unfortunately I’ve had to learn the hard way. While breakables are a clear no I had thought that flour was a safe bet; won’t get damaged, isn’t harmful, doesn’t roll, isn’t cold, no sharp corners… I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact he was teething so safe to say he ended up looking like Frosty the Snowman.

The aisle I always dread the most is the one we have to venture up; the baby aisle. It is both cunning and cruel that my local store positions the nappies directly opposite the most desirable toys. They know full well that while mums are stocking up on the essentials their children are eyeing up their latest must have purchase. The occasional whinge that ensued before this has now become a full blown wail. Distraction is the only answer and it is trial and error on what will work on a given day; I may have to burst into song, play an impromptu game of peekaboo or race the trolley like he’s on a roller coaster. The security guys watching the cctv must love it.

The final hurdle is the check out, unfortunately with many of the packets of fruit and snacks ripped open it is a juggling act to keep everything contained. In addition any items that are being clung onto now have to be removed from his tight grip so any understanding cashiers that are quick to swipe these through are a life saver. If they also have a bit of banter with the baby then I am grateful for the entertainment they provide while I’m bagging up the goods.

With it finished for another week I am just grateful that I have six days to psyche myself up for our next trip…

Footnote: Just got back from today’s shop and he was an angel the whole time! Someone’s obviously been reading over my shoulder!


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How embarrassing are we?!


After watching Dakota Johnson’s little tiff with her mother on the Oscar’s red carpet it seems like mum’s never stop being embarrassing whatever your age.

While we feel self-conscious about our little one’s temper tantrums we never stop to think about the red face moments that we bestow on them.

Think how they feel when we:

1. Sniff their bums to check if they have a dirty nappy in front of everyone! The humiliation!

2. Insist on meticulously brushing their hair but somehow forget to brush our own.

3. Call them to go home when they’ve just found a new best friend and then throw them over our shoulder if they don’t respond in 10 seconds.

4. Insist that they play with toy phones when they’re more than capable of using the real thing.

5. Pile on the layers until they look like sumo wrestlers as soon as there’s a chill in the air.

6. Excuse our mishaps by blaming them; from spilt drinks to bad parking.

7.Discuss their toilet habits in excessive detail – we would never discuss our own!

8. Are so desperately dehydrated we drink out of their beakers.

9. Strap them into their buggies when they’re well able to walk, just so we can drag them round the shops we want to go in.

10. Get them to give a good night kiss to everyone in the room when we have relatives over.

11. Let their hair grow far too long because we can’t bare to cut off their curls.

12. Enthusiastically join in the dancing at the mother and toddler group as we’ve no time to get to a fitness class.

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Which one is yours?


Once you become a mummy you can no longer leave the house with a minute’s notice and as well as making your child look presentable you also need to pack up your supplies. Everyone judges each other on how they look and while we may not be as interested in each other’s brand of jeans or shade of lip gloss anymore your change bag can be of the utmost interest!

1. Fair trade and floral

The one that makes other mother’s green with envy; you whip out fruit that has been carefully crafted to look like flowers, your snacks are organic, you only allow socially conscious toys and your nappies are eco-friendly. If anyone can pile on the mother’s guilt it’s got to be you.

2. Small and sleek

Change bag? No need, a regular handbag will fit all your little one’s essentials. If Victoria Beckham can still look sophisticated with four kids to her name then why not you? If your child needs their nappy changed then you have a spare, anything else and you’ll nip home or hit the shops, no sweat.

3. Practical and overflowing…

You’re prepared for every eventuality because if something’s going to go wrong, it’s going to happen to you. The day you don’t bring 3 changes of clothes your little one will vomit, get covered in paint and spill their drink all in one morning. Your motto: better safe than sorry. There’s no harm in hauling half the house around with you because what you don’t need someone else will!



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Anyone Else…? Pt 2


…love it when their child goes up a shoe size so they have to hit the shops (but secretly wishes their own feet would grow a bit more so they have the same excuse).

…cannot wait to be dragged along (willingly) to see Disney’s new Cinderella film.

…thankful that ‘barely there make up’ is back in fashion. I think most mum’s have been rocking that look for a while now…

…find it impossible to find a recent photo of themselves but has 50,000 of their child.

…notice that they’ve never eaten better after switching snacking on chocolate to constantly nicking their child’s rice cakes, raisins, grapes and crackers.

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Remember the one where Phoebe runs?


Do you remember the episode of Friends where Phoebe runs like a child because she says she feels free and that it’s so much more fun?

How else can children inspire us to get the most out of life?

Eat ten different things for lunch – take a mouthful out of each item then move onto the next. Think of it as a treat for your taste buds.

Run up to strangers and gush about how much you love their top, you never know they might be so shocked they hand it over.

When your favourite TV show comes on dance around the living room to the theme tune in celebration.

Instead of avoiding puddles splash right through them, it’s actually quite liberating (just make sure you haven’t got your best shoes on).

When someone really annoys you scream in their face and stamp your feet, it’ll shut them up in no time.

Next time you hurt yourself get a loved one to kiss it better; it really helps!

If no one’s watching then go down the slide and play on the swings at the park, it’s like Alton Towers minus the queues.

Whenever you get excited jump up and down on the spot, it’s a great way to burn calories.

Take a lunchtime nap whenever circumstances allow it; you’ll wake up refreshed and raring to go.

If you’re feeling in a competitive mood challenge someone to a race, great for the self esteem and great exercise!


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I’ll Do It!


My son’s current favourite phrase is ‘I’ll do it!’ When did chores stop being so much fun?

His top tasks are those that result in the maximum amount of noise; the microwave is put on needlessly several times a day just so he can hear the ‘bleep’, the whirring and spinning of the tumble dryer is enough to give me five minutes to myself and when it’s time to hoover it’s like all his Christmases have come at once.

Getting dressed is also a source of excitement and I begrudgingly have to occasionally leave the house with his top on backwards or his socks on inside out just so that he can feel he successfully dressed himself. I’m concerned the neighbours must think I need to get my sight checked.

The problem with him enjoying this new found area of amusement is that his enthusiasm can be exhausting. Instead of me giving the orders he ends up being the one calling the shots; the minute I finish a banana I am ordered ‘bin mama’, as soon as we finish our dinner it’s time to ‘sweep, sweep’ and every time the washing machine catches his eye he demands we get the dirty clothes.

Realising that his help with the cooking would be more of a hazard than a helping hand we wisely purchased a Cookie Monster Kitchen for his Christmas present. Unfortunately his initial excitement is starting to wear off and he is getting bored with using the plastic food. I had given in with letting him to ‘cook’ pasta but unbeknownst to me his attempt at ‘frying’ an egg was less successful and Cookie Monster did not look impressed with his new coat of orange fur.

One of his more ambitious claims is that he can drive us to the shops. Don’t worry I haven’t given in on that one yet. They may have invented an ‘N’ plate for Novice drivers but I can’t see them giving in to creating a ‘B’ for baby at the wheel!

Whilst it can be frustrating to have to deal with Mr Independent when you’re trying to leave the house in a hurry I know that this stage won’t last forever and before long I’ll be pining for a little helping hand again.

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