Wow! Omg! Wtf? WTAF? What a week we’ve had in Italy. A complete shock to the system and a complete change from holidays before children (you know the ones where you used to party ’till 7am and lay in bed until 3?) We’ve had a few ups and a few downs along the way (but I’m still married HURRAH). Although we wouldn’t have chosen Italy as our first holiday with children we were actually attending one of my best friends wedding at a beautiful villa in Borgo a Mozzano – Tuscany (close to Lucca). The wedding was booked before the twins had arrived and I’m not going to lie – the closer it got, the more I started to worry. The prospect of leaving my comfort zone (home) for a full week was really daunting to me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The living room is our safe zone, I don’t even have to get dressed to attend and I don’t have to pay £4 for a cup of tea like in soft play (plus I can have my own Yorkshire tea and not cheap shite). The twins walk around nuddy 95% of the time and after packing away all of my beloved Jo Malone candles, photos and lanterns it’s 100% twin proof, especially Freddie proof (naughty twin) we give Wacky Warehouse a run for its money. So here I am sharing our experience and a few tips to people who are going abroad and feeling rather anxious about their first trip away with babies/toddlers
FIRSTLY I would advise taking your mother in law and Dad 😂😂thanks Megan and Dad you’re WONDERFUL and we couldn’t have done it without you. If this isn’t an option – just get yourself a motorhome in the UK for the weekend so you can drive home when your children are refusing to sleep and when you think there’s every possibility you will murder your husband for waking your children up drunk at 3am.
2. Go with realistic expectations. Your holiday will be NOTHING like your old holidays – unless you are Beyonce and you have 6 full time nannies (Is this even true ? Amateur). But embrace the new holidays, yes it’s hard to deal with certain situations like a screaming 15m/o in central Florence in 37 degree heat but look at the positives – he acted as a great buggy bell to get us through the busy, small streets. We felt like Pope Francis in his little batmobile when the crowds parted for us down the Gold Bridge. We have however, come to the conclusion that next years holiday will be somewhere in the UK, until we are ready to go to an all inclusive 2* resort somewhere in Europe with a decent enough kids club and free local beer. We WILL go back to Florence one day.
3. Plan your days out. Read travel blogs, read reviews, Google map streets to get your bearings, find parks, download trainline EU app, book into restaurants, whatever you need to do – do it before you go! You WILL NOT have time to saunter round looking for somewhere to eat like the good old glory days when you have screaming hot children in the pram. #squeakybumtime – See also point 7.
4. Drink alcohol like it is going out of fashion. Everything will be fine. Toddler tries to throw himself out 3rd story window? Drink alcohol. Toddler tries to walk straight into a 2m deep pool? Drink alcohol. Toddler tries to make friends with a swarm of wasps? Drink alcohol. So on and so forth. **Sponsored by Aperol Spritz**
5. Don’t worry too much about the plane journey. Jordan had sleepless nights before we went away and to be honest the plane was probably the best part! They loved it (aside from the delay on the runway – Sorry to row A but you were miserable and didn’t say “Iya” back to Freddie so you deserved all the booting and screaming!) Take an iPad, sticker book, chocolate (choc choc and tot tots as we like to say) and whatever else keeps your children happy – like their Dad’s bank card. Hey! At least it’s making them happy… #stillbitterfrommybirthday
6. Do not bother packing anything remotely fashionable for your little ones. They will want to channel their inner gypsy wedding and waltz around in a nappy and vest (Just a nappy in Florence trainstation – oh the shame – see pics above). And I’m afraid there is just nothing you can do about it – I would also choose to walk around in similar attire if I didn’t run the risk of being locked up.
7. Prepare yourself for lots of swearing and lots of running. Maybe go out for a jog the day before you fly shouting SHIT, FUCKS SAKE, FUCK OFF WASP and TWATTYBOLLOCKS in the street (Circa Pete – Big Brother 2005) to get yourself used to the strange looks.
8. Take the right buggy – we bought the Joie double buggy that folds flat into one piece and it was fantastic! It reclines back for naps and also has a small hood for shade. It also has a huuuuge basket underneath to house all things plastic tat/ used nappies/ Gregg’s sausage roll crumbs/. The only downside is that the seats are together without a divide down the middle. Whilst I thought that was cute, it transpired it made it too easy for biting to occur.
9. Don’t be a tool and make sure you buy a REUSABLE swimming nappy. Don’t be said tool like me and pack 3 full packs of disposable ones , costing £30 and taking up ALOT of room in your case. I’m posting a few links below of essentials.
10. Pack well in advance. I honestly started packing 4 weeks before our holiday (Insane? That’s me!) – whenever I thought of things to pack I would do it there and then in that moment and that way (*trumpet blowing*) I didn’t forget a thing. I was so thankful I remembered to pack my “Over Hopeful Idiot” guidebook before we left the house to refer to when I had to go to bed with my delightful off springs at 7pm EVERY NIGHT!!!
Shopping for kids is always a lot more fun than shopping for yourself. (Shopping WITH kids is a whole other kettle of fish) because let’s face it – looking at yourself in Topshop changing rooms after birthing 2 children is about as thrilling as the thought of having a 3rd. As per my point above, although it’s fun (and you will probably do it anyway) just don’t bother. We wasted so much money buying lovely holiday outfits only for 1/3 of them to be stained pink by p20, 1/3 left unworn (and probably sold on ebay next week) and 1/3 covered in peroni/pesto/gellato (the three Italian nuskateers). What I have compiled, is a list of purchases below that came in very handy to us and most probably to you.
Reusable swim nappies – http://www.boots.com/bambino-mio-reusable-swim-nappy-deep-sea-blue-large-1-2-years-10216569
Joie double buggy – http://www.argos.co.uk/product/3220746
Boots 8hr suncream (much cheaper than p20) **my hands didn’t tan all holiday from putting this on the boys So always ask your partner to do it** – I can’t seem to find this on their site but I bought it from their trafford centre store.
Childs Farm aftersun and lotion (amazing for dry skin – particularly amazing if your little one has eczema) – http://www.childsfarm.com/
Nappies (As many as you can cram into your child’s hand luggage as they’re a fortune abroad ! Huggies cost us €20 for 40.)
Tablets (Not the ones you’ll need for your head – but you will need them too!) No, we bought 2 x kindles before we went and put memory cards in them. You can download all the kids programs on the CBeebies app so you can watch them on the plane 😄 thanks Justin’s house! – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01J90OI4A/ref=asc_df_B01J90OI4A44704576?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B01J90OI4A&hvadid=205215312955&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8593670797298494869&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9046518&hvtargid=pla-334878590141
Rechargeable pram fan – I didn’t have them but my friend did and her baby was ALOT happier than my terrible 2 so let’s go with that. (Big up to baby Kitty you gorgeous girl). – https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/272751505428?chn=ps&dispItem=1&adgroupid=43333907642&rlsatarget=pla-300798695223&abcId=1088846&adtype=pla&merchantid=113478153&poi=&googleloc=9046518&device=c&campaignid=805983114&crdt=0
Pool shoes – the boys wore theirs all holiday ! in the pool and then on the stone surrounds so they didn’t burn their tootsies! – http://www.next.co.uk/style/st164808#703118
Growing up milk – now obviously my two are on cows milk but I decided to take 4x cartons of cow and gate growing up milk for emergencies. These acted as a LIFE SAVER on that fateful day in florence.
Lastly (nearly) – (This is a boring one so bare with me) I saved the number for the emergency services in Italy in my phone as AAAemergecy so it was the top number in my phone book. I saved the address of our accommodation and also the nearest town JUST INCASE I ever had to ring, flapping, not knowing who to call. Yes I can be sensible too see.
I hope you’ve found this a useful read – you can message me on Instagram if you want any info on Florence or Lucca in particular 🙂
Lastly LASTLY – Thank you so much to Mr and Mrs Lassey for letting us be a part of your stunning wedding. We are so happy for you both! – Also thanks for great blogging material.
Lots of love