You might have read my feature on my holiday to Portugal over on Rock My Style, if not you can catch up with it all here. This post is all about the baby – what we took with us that became our summer holiday essentials.

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On a last minute whim (literally on the day before our flight) I purchased a black washed rucksack from Next. Yes a rucksack. I am the least rucksack person I know. They remind me of water-logged camping trips. Or being twelve with a bad fringe and no fashion clue. Neither are events I wish to be reminded of.

However, I am now a bonfide fangirl of the rucksack. It was my BFF at the airport and on the plane in a “look at me no hands!” type of way. And believe me I needed both hands at all times.

In my rucksack I had our passports, make-up, iPad, phone, wipes, this awesome lunch bag (easy to scrunch up smaller and keeps things cool) with Mabel’s fruit and yoghurt in, spare dummy, extra cardigan for Mabel and various other bits and bobs. It’s actually a very soft imitation leather and dare I say it…..made me feel a little bit “Cool Mum knows exactly what she’s doing with this travelling lark” esque. Ahem.

James also had a larger hand luggage case from Antler which we always take to house heavier items such as a laptop, we took a few small toys in there, a book and Mabel’s nappies and cream in another smaller bag inside so we could easily take it back and forth to the loo for changing rather than her usual rather large changing bag we use at home (the best thing ever but far too cumbersome for a room the size of a broom cupboard.)

My allocated hand luggage was my stroller – the Babyzen YoYo. I should write a separate review of this as I have so much to say but it is super light and easy to fold out and back again. The strap fits over your shoulder and it literally carries like a large square “tote” – it’s about 5KG in weight. I have the white chassis with the grey colour pack. We saw LOADS of them in Portugal. And we used it multiple times every single day.

One of the most super recommendations I gained from this helpful little community was the isafe Universal Car Seat Travel Bag. Not only did we take our car seat in it but also enough wipes, regular nappies and swim nappies to last us the holiday and none of it counted as weight towards our regular luggage allocation. (For those of you that don’t know – we certainly didn’t, you take this particular bag to the oversized luggage area at the airport where folks take golf clubs and the like.)


We didn’t check there was one or request a highchair for our apartment. Epic parental fail number one. Luckily based on the tips from you folks we had invested in this booster seat which was a life saver. Most places we went out to eat had highchairs but a few didn’t and there was one occasion where there was none left – we took this with us in the boot of the car wherever we went just in case.

I packed the equivalent of 7 Ella’s Kitchen “evening” meals as I was unsure what would be available whilst away, how fussy Mabel would be etc etc. I have to say the couple of supermarkets we went to really didn’t have any baby food, most surprising. Mabel mainly had toast and fruit for breakfast, sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrots and yoghurt for lunch and one of the organic pre-prepared pouch meals in the evening plus a few snacks (banana, Heinz biscotti, raspberries, blueberries etc) throughout the day. Every evening meal we let her try some of ours with mixed success. At least good old Ella’s Kitchen ensured she didn’t go hungry and we didn’t have to worry about her just eating bread and fruit all day.

In The Sun

Mabel’s skin is very sensitive to suncream so I can’t really recommend a certain brand unfortunately – we are still road testing as many as we can to find the “one”. The best thing ever was a SPF 40 Strawberry Print Suit from John Lewis. They now do some other great patterns. I had another which wasn’t anywhere near as good quality – I wish I’d jut bought two of these.

On various recommendations we also took with us this inflatable safety duck bath from Boots. It came in very handy by the pool as Mabel could splash about in it and the water warmed up fairly quickly. I would say it would be even more relevant to smaller babies who are not quite mobile yet – At 13 months Mabel did attempt to try and get out after ten minutes or so. The most useful toy we found were some ELC Nesting Eggs. Lightweight, compact and very reasonably priced and good for learning/throwing about in the water.

Fashion wise Mabel mostly wore cute shorts from and the mix and match vests from Next. I also bought a thin ditsy print cardigan that matched for evening – it is very pretty and went really well with a lot of her denim pieces too.

My favourite outfit for Mabel was a light long sleeved floral print set with matching bloomers from Autograph at M&S. Autograph is spendy but great quality I find.


It was REALLY hot in Portugal – 35 degrees some days. James and I take heat waves wherever we go, it’s not even funny anymore (we are very much non-sunbathing types.) For bedtime all Mabel had on was either a short sleeved vest or a shorts and T-shirts style pyjama set.

She slept in a 1 tog sleeping bag that we took with us, the aircon was almost permanently on so it was reasonably cool inside the apartment – we have this design from John Lewis.

For naps during the day we took along a black out shade with SPF 50 for the stroller but found Mabel mainly fell asleep in the car, on return from an outing we then took her out of the car very carefully in her car seat so that she could remain in the land of nod for an hour or so in the apartment. That meant James and I could spend some leisure time just us. Bonus.

Do let me know if you found this feature useful and anything else you can recommend as a baby holiday essential to parents, I’m sure there must be things I’ve forgotten…..

And if you have any questions on the items in the post then just holler in the comments section 🙂

Now the first holiday is over I’m definitely feeling more confident about the next!


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