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Review: Pacapod Mirano Changing Bag

Thursday, 31 August 2017
I had a changing bag on my 'must-have' list when I was pregnant but in all honesty, it wasn't something I gave much thought at all. In the end, I picked up one from the reduced section in the pram centre and thought it was plain enough to go unnoticed on the back of my pram. How it looked was probably the most thought I gave it and even then, I picked one that I didn't want to be seen. I'll be carrying my own nice handbag anyway, I thought. Oh, the naivety! 

As a first time mum, I had no idea about the significance of a changing bag. I had no idea that a changing bag becomes your handbag. I had no idea that within a few weeks, I'd grow to hate that plain, boring bag hanging on the back of my pram and how completely unpractical it was. It had no organisation inside and I'd find myself emptying the full thing just to find some wipes and nappies.

I needed a good changing bag, and then along came the Pacapod Mirano Changing bag.*

Pacapod changing bag review mirano pewter photos uk family mummy vlogger

This Mirano is the style that I'd wished for and the Pacapod system has all the organisation I need. 

The Pacapod bags aren't just beautiful luxury changing bags, they have a unique pod system which lets you organise different areas of your bag and keep everything separate. The front section of the bag opens out to allow access to two pods - one cool bag for milk and food supplies, and one changing pod for nappies, wipes etc. The pods can be removed and have their own clips which means that if you're pushed for space, or if you're taking your own handbag for everything else, you can just take the pods out and either put them under your pram or attach them to the handle using the hooks.

Pacapod changing bag review mirano pewter photos uk family mummy vlogger
Pacapod changing bag review mirano pewter photos uk family mummy vlogger

The best thing about the pod system, I've found, is how easy it is to organise. Before I leave the house, I pack each pod individually and it helps me to mentally tick off the list of things I need to pack. Each area of the bag has it's own requirement and I work my way around the bag packing each thing until we're ready to go. And when we're out and about, it's so much easier to find what I'm looking for when everything already has it's own place.

I love that if we're going out for a short walk, I can carry light and just take one of the food pods with me and it fits neatly under the pram. This was a god send when we were on holiday, and could fit the pods into our larger beach bag so we didn't have multiple things to carry at once!

There are so many beautiful styles of bag from the Pacapod brand. I went for the Mirano in 'pewter' because I wanted something reasonably spacious (so it can double up as a handbag), something neutral that looks good on my pram and one that's not too feminine so that Andy loves it out too. There are so many beautiful styles on the website, I totally struggled to chose but when it arrived, I knew I'd made the right decision - it's absolutely beautiful! 

This changing bag is everything I wanted and needed, I only wish I'd discovered it earlier! It's totally changed how organised I am when I'm getting ready and when I'm out of the house. The bag is so well made, and the high quality means I know it'll last a long time. It's a bit more pricey than my bargain bin changing bag, but for something that I use every single day for a couple of years at least, it's worth every penny.

Have any of you tried the pacapod?

*this bag was kindly sent to us to review. 

The Struggle of Chronic Baby Brain

Tuesday, 29 August 2017
uk parenting and lifestyle blogger maisy meow family blogger

At first, I blamed it on the hormones. Then when the pregnancy was over, I blamed it on the sleep deprivation. Then when he started sleeping through, I ran out of excuses. Okay so I'm up at 6am every day, but the exhaustion knocks me out by 9.30pm most nights.

So why's my brain not working anymore?

In the last few months, I've made countless trips upstairs only to forget why I'm there. I've put my steriliser in the oven (and only discovered the melted mess after 10 mins), I've went out without my purse (too many times to count) and recently, I convinced the man in the ice cream van that he'd forgotten to put a flake on my ice cream only to realise as I walked away (with the replacement flake) that I could taste chocolate. It turns out I'd eaten it, instantly forgotten and asked for a new one. 

I can't work out if I've lost brain cells or if there's just so much going on up there that it's a bit overcrowded. It's the latter, probably. My endless to-do list alone could take up the full capacity up there.

I have that constant nagging feeling in my mind, like I've forgotten to do something. Sometimes it's because I've genuinely forgotten something and other times it's just because I know that I've so much to do, that's there always something I need to do. I suppose 'baby brain' isn't just a pregnancy or sleep related thing - it's just baby related. Once you're caring for another little person and their every little need, you need to use some of the brain space that you previously used for things like storing the location of the tv remote and the reason why you went upstairs. 

The good thing is, I'm not alone. I've spoken to mums of kids of all ages about it and it's safe to say  that judging by what they've said, my 'baby brain' is here to stay. Although it seems there's probably no hope of me ever being back to how I used to be, it's comforting to know I'm not the only mum who feels like they're losing their mind sometimes. 

I used to get so angry with myself for doing stupid things, but I've learned to laugh at my baby brain moments now. This morning I went to make myself a cup of tea and as I flipped the switch to boil the kettle, I found a roasting hot cup of tea right next to it. Yep, I'd already made one .. within the last few minutes, and of course, I'd already forgotten about it. I think that was the only time I've been pleased to have my baby brain around - it surprised me with tea!

I asked some other mums for their best baby brain moments and here's what they said...

"I've put the kettle in the fridge, way more than once.."

"I put Teddy's dirty nappy in the fella got a smelly surprise when he went in a couple of hours later for his milk!" 

"Put chicken in the kitchen drawer two days ago and only found it this morning!" 

When you mention baby brain to any mum with a young baby, you can guarantee you'll get a story like one of these. There's definitely a theme to the above ones - wouldn't it be interesting to go into the kitchen of a mum and inspect their fridges and drawers, to see what crazy misplaced things you'd find! It's funny how mums can cope with the busiest, most demanding job in the world yet can't operate basic brain functions at times! The way I see it though, at the end of the day, as long as I'm keeping my tiny human alive and happy, then who cares if I can't find the remote (edit: it was in the fridge).

Have any of you had long-term baby brain?

BABY | Everything You Need To Know About Taking A Baby On Holiday

Friday, 11 August 2017
There's a lot to think about when you're taking a baby on holiday and I know, because I worried about each and every one of them for months before we took Oliver to Portugal in July. I don't think I even got excited about our holiday until about a week before, as my mind was just totally consumed with everything that could go wrong.

Luckily, nothing did. We had such a lovely time, and everything just kind of fell into place. I have to say, though, a lot of it was down to preparation and taking on board all the advice from friends and other mums I'd spoken to about it.

So here's our holiday experience, bit by bit, covering all the questions I asked before I left and everything I think you need to know about taking a baby abroad.

For reference, Oliver is 9 months old - crawling, pulling himself up but not yet walking. He has 2 bottles of formula a day - morning and before bed, and sleeps pretty well (but he's an early riser).

With that said, grab a cuppa - there's a lot to cover...


Travelling: Airport Security and Flight
'What can you take through security for a baby?'

We flew with Ryan Air on an early morning flight at 7am. Ryan Air are pretty good in terms of what you can carry for a baby. We were allowed one fold-down pushchair, a car seat and a changing bag at no extra cost. We weren't going to take a car seat originally but our airport transfer company didn't have any seats for a baby under 1. I had already worried a bit about getting taxis abroad without a baby seat, so I was kind of relieved that we could take one with us. I knew it might be a hassle though, so when we were looking for a buggy to take with us, we went for the Mamas and Papas Armadillo as this one let us fit the car seat on top (with adaptors) which meant we wouldn't be carrying it around on our arm if we got a taxi somewhere. 

For the changing bag, we were allowed to carry on snacks and formula for Oliver. I phoned ahead to ask how much formula I could take in my carry-on luggage and was told that we were allowed to take as much as we needed for the onward journey (usually two for a short haul flight). We only needed one but I took two small ready made bottles any way, just in case. They took my changing bag to check at security, but I didn't have to taste the milk like some of the forums had warned. I think they just checked to make sure the seal wasn't broken. 

We gave Oliver snacks when he woke up at the airport - some bread and butter and a fruit puree, to try and postpone his first bottle of the day. A few of you had recommended giving him a bottle when the plane takes off to help ease any pressure on his ears and it worked, he didn't flinch at take off and the milk sent him straight to sleep. Although I'm not sure the ears popping would have been an issue anyway, as he landed without any milk and didn't flinch then either! Oliver napped for the first hour of our 3 hour flight, and for the rest of the time he ate snacks, and played with his toys. 

TIP: Take plenty of snacks and toys in your carry on luggage for the airport and plane. 

everything you need to know about taking a baby on holiday uk parenting bloggers maisy meow

Formula and Food
'How do you give formula to a baby on holiday?'

Oliver has two bottles a day and we use powdered SMA pro milk but when we're out and about, he has Aptimil ready made bottles (he hates ready-made SMA). I read initially that it's fine to take powdered formula and make it up with boiled bottled water while abroad, but then I realised I'd be doing this without a perfect prep machine and it would be a total pain (the perfect prep has made me lazy, I admit). I googled to check if you could buy ready-made aptimal bottles abroad but read that they don't sell them in Portugal. 

Note: If you do decide to give powdered formula with bottled water abroad, be sure to check that the bottled water you're using is safe for babies as some have a high sodium content. (more info here)

So then I considered taking ready made bottles with me. The most common advice given was to order formula and get it delivered to the Boots store past the airport security so that it doesn't go against your luggage allowance - great advice and totally makes sense. However, our airport was tiny and didn't have a Boots store so we ended up packing all 22(!) bottles into our suitcases. 

To my surprise, our local supermarket did actually stock ready made bottles - they had aptimil, cow & gate and a few other brands (although they were around 2/3 euros a bottle!). Oliver ended up having 3 bottles a day instead of 2 (mostly because I was worried he wasn't drinking enough) so when we ran out, we were able to stock up again easily (although it was expensive to do so). 

When it came to sterilising bottles, we used these sterilising bags and popped them in the microwave for 5 minutes. They're super lightweight and easy to use.

When it came to food, it wasn't much different to eating here. We took a supply of snacks from home like wafers but you could buy most of it over there any way. He ate scrambled eggs, toast, lots of fruit and we bought purees and snacks from the baby aisle in the supermarket which he loved. We also made our own ice lollies for him which did a great job of keeping him cool and hydrated!

TIP: Take a fruit popsicle maker so you can make baby-friendly ice lollies!

what to pack for taking baby on holiday uk parenting blog maisy meow

Packing: Clothes and Baby Supplies
What should I pack for a baby on holiday?

We did that thing that everyone told us not to and bought lots of cute 'night time' outfits for Oliver - lots of shirts and smart shorts that he could wear to dinner and cute little shorts and t-shirts for night time. It turns out everyone was right and he barely wore any of it. 

During the day, he mostly wore his long sleeve, long leg swimming suit as he'd be in and out of the pool. We took other swim suits but we always went for the one piece as it's easier to get on and off and in future, I won't bother with the sets that have a top and shorts. When he needed dry clothes, we'd put him in either his one piece romper or a t-shirt and cotton shorts. 

At night time, it was roasting and it didn't feel right to put him into a shirt or smart trousers so he ended up wearing his super comfy clothes at night too. I wanted the option of being able to put him straight to bed if he fell asleep on the way home as well. 

I assumed he'd sleep in just a vest at night but in fact, we always had air con on and the room was quite cool so he actually slept in a baby grow with a blanket over him. If I'd realised the room would be a cool temperature, I'd probably have brought his normal sleeping bag but we just used a blanket instead. I'm so glad we brought a couple of blankets with us as we used them loads!

In regards to other baby supplies, I can only speak about Portugal but my goodness, baby stuff is expensive in the supermarket. We took one pack of nappies and two packs of swim nappies and luckily only had to buy one large packet of normal nappies while we were away. Nappies were twice the price over there so I'd recommend taking as many as you can fit in your suitcase!

TIP: Pick long-sleeve, long leg swimsuits - you'll appreciate something that's easy to put on when it's boiling hot and your baby has sticky, sweaty skin! It also means less skin is on show, which means you need less sun cream! 

TIP #2: Forget the shirts and smart clothes and take comfy, light weight clothes. 

TIP #3: Remember sun lotion can stain clothes yellow, so don't splash out on expensive clothes!

Sleep and Routine
Will going on holiday ruin my baby's routine?

The villa that we stayed in provided a travel cot for Oliver which was in our room, and we just brought our own sheets for it and gave it a wipe down before using it. I was a bit worried that Oliver wouldn't sleep in a different bed but he settled fine. Our normal routine went out the window obviously, but we came settled into a new mini routine for while we were away. 

Oliver would wake at 6am, have a bottle and then all 3 of us would go out for a walk to the beach. You'd think that sounds crazy going out at 6am, but we'd often bump into other tired-looking parents and their prams! The beach is actually lovely first thing in the morning and it's a good time for babies to explore without you worrying about them getting sunburnt or lost in the crowd. We'd go for breakfast at a cafe around 7ish, then we'd walk back to the villa and he'd be ready for his nap. 

He'd normally have a long sleep in the afternoon too and for that nap, we'd put him into our bedroom with the air con on and a blanket which kept him really cool and let him sleep for hours. We were in a villa, which meant we could lay by the pool while he napped indoors and we could keep an eye on him using our baby monitor. 

When we went out for dinner, we'd go at around 6.30/7pm and Oliver would have already eaten by then. We actually came up with a genius little system (if I do say so myself) that let both me and andy eat our dinner in peace and quiet, while it was still hot! We'd go to the restaurant with Oliver in the buggy, order our meals and then me or andy would take oliver for a quick walk in the pram. The combination of the bumpy cobbled streets and the snooze shade meant that Oliver would fall asleep quickly and he'd usually last an hour or so while we ate our dinner! It was so easy! 

At night, he'd go to sleep after a bottle and our room had black out blinds so the room was pitch black until morning. We did bring this portable blackout blind but obviously didn't need to use it! 

Once we were home, it took no more than one day for Oliver to settle back into his normal routine.

TIP: Bring your monitor so you can relax on the balcony/poolside while the baby sleeps!

everything you need to know about taking bottle fed baby on holiday uk parenting bloger

Sun Protection
What's the best way to protect baby's skin on holiday? 

This is very much a 'learn from my mistakes' section. Well, it was a mistake on the first day anyway. I was really worried about Oliver getting sunburnt on holiday so the minute we arrived, I covered him in Boots Soltan Sensitive sun cream for babies and within half an hour, he was crying uncontrollably as he'd rubbed his eyes in it. He cried for hours and rinsing his eyes didn't seem to help. Oliver has never had sensitive skin, and for some reason I didn't even think about it going into his eyes! I felt so guilty.

The next day, we went to the pharmacy and they recommended Avene sensitive sun cream - this was thicker and absorbed much better (I put on a lot less too). I made sure that I put a  small amount on but covered all his skin and when it came to his face, I only put it on his cheeks as he had a sun hat covering most of his face and to be honest, he was almost always in the shade. 

We took this pop-up beach tent so that when we were hanging out by the pool, Oliver could play in his tent and watch us while still being in the shade. Sometimes we'd put a little paddling pool inside too so he could splash around, or we'd set up some sun umbrellas outside it with some towels and blankets so he could crawl around for a bit. He came into the pool with us too in his little rubber ring.

When we went out walking, we'd always put up our snooze shade over the pram and this kept him out of the sun (and usually sent him off to sleep too!). 

TIP: Buy a good sun cream for babies, and use it sparingly! Use clothes and shade to protect. 

uk parenting and family bloggers maisy meow

Well, I told you it was a long post didn't I?

This may look totally overwhelming but in all honesty, everything was so much easier than I thought it was going to be.

I think I've covered everything but please let me know if you have any questions or if you have any further advice on what I've said above - I'd love to add some of your tips to this post too!

What's your top tips for taking a baby on holiday?

Vlog | A Mum on Maternity Leave

Tuesday, 1 August 2017
One of the main reasons I started vlogging again was to record all these early memories of baby Oliver. I want more than just the family album and the milestone photos - I want to remember all the little things like our maternity leave days that seem uneventful at the time, but ones that I'm sure I'll look back on fondly in years to come. 

With that said, I'm going to start vlogging at least once a week. I'll try and pick a day that's not just me and Oliver rolling around on the rug but I can't promise that won't feature at some point on most videos. That's life on maternity pay, after all. 

Lifestyle and parenting blogger and vlogger uk glasgow scotland scottish

I really hope you enjoy watching these too and seeing the day in the life of a mum on maternity leave.  I love watching daily vlogs and seeing what other mums like me get up to and how they fill their days with a young baby. Plus, in this video there's some Primark shopping and who doesn't enjoy a bit of that? 

Make sure you're subscribed to my channel so you don't miss any videos.

Do any of you vlog as well? Leave links to your channel below if you do!

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