It’s amazing the amount of stuff you buy for your littles in preparation for a holiday abroad, only to use less than half of it. We made that rather spendy mistake last year, so this year’s trip to Portugal was distinctly more minimal on the packing front.

The main obstacle was the weather forecast, kind of warm yet raining, much cooler in the evenings…rather windy. Then at the end of the week really quite hot but with the odd random thunder storm. Trying to pack for Mother Nature’s rather changeable week (had she been on the gin?) proved interesting to say the least.

If you would like to know more about where we went and what we did as well as my attempt at remaining stylish in Motherhood whilst endeavouring to deal with a tantrum-throwing toddler and extreme temperatures (ahem, often failing epically) then pop on over to Rock My Style.

Fashion and Accessories

Yes I know! fashion and accessories! Do I sound as though I’m writing for Rock My Wedding? Or just a bit of a wa*ker? blog confusion and wanky title-ness aside, I did pretty well with Mabel’s wardrobe in terms of practicality, even if I do say so myself.

By far the most useful purchase was this butterfly Sunsafe swimsuit and matching Keppi hat from Mothercare, Mabel wore it every day at some point or other as it was reasonably warm and covered well, as well as making you feel confident she was well protected. We found it easy to get on and off too.

For during the day Mabel often wore colourful patterned joggers – these pineapple print pair from Next were my favourite, they covered her sturdy legs enough for wind and rain yet were lose and easy to run around in for when the sun put his hat on. I mixed and matched her joggers with various white T’s and blouses, this embroidered number from Mini Club was particularly lovely quality, I’ve bought her another one since we’ve returned home as it is such a versatile piece.

This coral neon hooded sweatshirt from Zara was also a super buy, it was thrown on the sand, on the floor, covered in ice-cream and Lord knows what else during the holiday but has washed good as new.

For evenings it was fun to dress Mabel up a bit (let’s face it, we are more often than not in our scruffs) unfortunately her gorgeous floral Boden frock with a peter pan collar is no longer available but I currently have hovering in my online basket this Broderie dress which is so cute it hurts my eyes.

This denim jacket went with everything so apart from a waterproof mac was the only outwear we took.

Essentials And Entertainment

Mabel is two and two months. She doesn’t sit still very often. This as you can imagine, doesn’t make for a very relaxing break. The travel booster seat was a life saver for keeping her secure in restaurants – you can’t always guarantee a highchair, plus she seemed happier in this for whatever reason.

Mabel has super sensitive skin, I swear I’ve tried every SPF lotion on the market and everything results in a red itchy rash. Until we discovered Garner Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced that is. It’s SPF 50 and is only £8 for 200ml which I think is really reasonable compared to most other brands. You can currently buy it and get another half price in Boots. It doesn’t leave obvious white marks or appear mask-like either. Winner.

To keep Mabel entertained for at least half an hour at a time (sometimes even forty minutes if we bribed her with a mini Magnum) we found that The Snail And The Whale sticker book was a huge success. You can make up endless stories for each “scene” and there are puzzles and colouring-in pages too. Admittedly some of it was a little advanced for Mabel, but it would be perfect for age 3 upwards.

Then there was play dough. James can’t stand the stuff, and I’m not a huge fan either. But a few travel tubs meant she would happily sit underneath the big umbrella on the terrace and mould all sorts of interesting multi-coloured blobs that represented anything from “A coffee dinosaur” (?) to a “blue pineapple from the moon”. I whole heartedly believe she is a creative genius in the making.

Mabel now has her own Monday video slot on our rockmyfamily instagram feed if you fancy a butchers. Advanced warning: There is Bieber.

And you can see more Portugal holiday snaps on my personal instagram account.

Do let me know about your travel essentials in the comments box below!