It seems crazy that we’ve been back from our amazing first holiday abroad for over a month now.
The last few weeks have flown by and I don’t feel as though I’ve properly caught up yet!!
It was such an amazing week away— the perfect place for a first ‘proper’ holiday away with our little family.
Having not been abroad before with the boys, packing was a little bit hit and miss. I looked at lots of websites with lists of essential holiday items for toddlers and got a bit carried away with all the ‘must have’ items that were suggested.
I think I probably overpacked for them (if I’m totally honest) but of all the things we took, I thought I’d share the three essential bits of kit that I don’t think we could have done without.
Sun Protection Suits
These were a last minute purchase and, in hindsight, they were something that should have been really high up on the list of priority items to take!
We bought ours from JoJo Maman Bébé but there are lots of alternatives out there.
The fabric they’re made from is rated UPF 50+ — and they’re 98% effective at blocking UVA rays — so they’re a great way of keeping sensitive skins from burning.
I’m not sure why they weren’t high up on the packing list but — as a mama of two little waterbabies, one of whom has incredibly pale skin like his dad — these were a must-have item.
Such a simple idea but we found them SO useful.
Ours were from Little Life and are made of a superfast drying microfibre fabric (they feel a bit like chamois leather) which means that they can dry up to eight times faster than standard towels.
Plus they can absorb up to nine times their own weight in water.
They’re really lightweight and, when they’re squished up into a tiny ball, they make perfect packing material for shoes.
They were brilliant for wrapping the boys in, when they got out of the pool. They acted as blankets for afternoon naps, and as they’ve also got a UPF rating of 50+, they acted as a very useful sun barrier.
Following an incident that happened on holiday, this is something that I won’t ever be without again, if ever we’re taking the boys swimming.
Ours are from Konfidence and if you’re taking your little ones swimming — either at home or abroad — this is an essential item.
We’d brought them with us to Sardinia but annoyingly, they were packed in our cases (rather than in the boys’ suitcase) and BA lost our luggage for the first 4 days of our holiday.
I didn’t think twice about the swim vests, to be honest, until on the third day when we were all playing in the pool together.
We were in the baby pool; the water came to chest height on the boys and they were easily able to stand up without support.
Dickie and I were both watching Bertie — he was jumping about and being really funny — and whilst our attention was on him, Cosmo silently slipped under the water.
It happened literally in a matter of seconds.
I turned round to see him floating face down and we dragged him up and out of the water as soon as we realised.
It was terrifying.
There was no flailing about or commotion. It happened very quickly and quietly.
Needless to say, I had a couple of sleepless nights afterwards, mulling over what could have happened if we hadn’t been so quick to act. It was a truly terrifying experience and one I never, ever want to repeat.
Cosmo was very cautious of the water following his experience. He didn’t want to go in for the rest of that day — or the next — and was happy just to play on the side of the pool.
When our cases arrived the following evening, we were so grateful to see the swim jackets.
We told Cosmo that it was a magic jacket and it would keep him safe in the water. And it did.
And not only that, it really, really did give him his confidence back.
This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.