5 Tips for Traveling in London with a Toddler

We recently survived a trip to London with our very active 15 month old. Here’s a few things we did to enjoy our time together.

 

 

 

  1. Pack light. I’ve been working on this for awhile now, and I think I got it down. I knew our hotel had a washer and dryer so this made it easier to pack light. I was able to fit my husband’s, our toddler’s and my clothes in 1 medium luggage with the help of travel organizers- this is what we used //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsabbys-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B016YQPZ80&asins=B016YQPZ80&linkId=64d51ec210b1758183ad288df313f775&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>here. I packed bottoms that were able to mix-and-match with different tops. The travel organizers really helped with only packing what fits in each one of our cubes. When we got to the airport, our luggage weighed less then 40 lbs! We also had a small carry-on luggage (but we checked it in) full of her diapers and wipes. This is totally optional, but I’m glad I packed it because diapers and wipes at the store near our place were so expensive. As we used her diapers, we put souvenirs in that space. We bought a new stroller for this trip, too. We got the UPPAbaby G-Luxe (you can get it //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsabbys-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01ITTRIM6&asins=B01ITTRIM6&linkId=fdb4172b9fdb5ba386c60f6a5f72b8fd&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>here). We chose this umbrella stroller because it reclines and extendable sunshade. It’s easy to fold and carry, as well.
  2. Research. I highly suggest you look up where you are staying and locate the nearest store, hospital and what their emergency number is, especially when traveling with a child . In London, their emergency number isn’t 911, but rather it is 999. We stopped by the store almost everyday to get milk, drinks and snacks (ya know toddlers love their snacks!). Also, I researched things to do in London with a baby by reading blogs, reading TripAdvisor reviews and watching YouTube videos. This was our first international flight with our little babe, and we didn’t know how jet-lag would affect her, so we did not book anything for the first day. I did read to beat jet-lag, you shouldn’t sleep right away. We landed at 9 AM, checked in to our hotel, freshened up and hit the London cobblestones! Luckily, our hotel was walking distance to plenty of tourist attractions: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and the Thames river. We, also, found a cute park with a playground nearby- score!  (click here to find out where we stayed) Tip: When going down the escalator, stand on the right & walk on the left. They won’t say anything to you, but they will stare & think impolite things 😉
  3. Learn the lingo. I watched YouTube videos to help finds things to do with a baby. Also, I found videos on how to pronounce words and use the local lingo. For example: lifts are elevators, rubbish is trash, nappy is diaper, buggy is stroller, queue is line (Londoners love their lines- very proper lines!), chips are fries, crisps are chips, toilet is restroom (do not say “where is the bathroom” they will look at you confused thinking you are asking “where is the shower”), the Thames river is pronounced “tems”, Westminster is not “WestminIster” (don’t add that extra ‘I’ in there). I watched a lot of videos from this YouTube vlogger who lives in London, find her here. 
  4. Ask a local. There were SO many helpful and friendly people here. We loved it! It even started on the airline. We flew British Airways and the lady at check-in gave a seat to our little babe. It gave us a whole row to ourselves! The flight attendants also gave us plenty of milk for her when we asked. When we were in the airport and using the tube for the first time, the workers helped us navigate to our stop by telling us which line to go to and when to switch to another line. They told us which lines would have lifts by finding the handicap symbol on the map, and figuring out if we should get an oyster card or not (if you are staying more than 2 days- get it, you get a refund when you return the card, too!). When we finally got to our stop, we had to push our luggages and stroller to our hotel. We were met with a long stairway down the riverbank. Hubs started to carry down the 2 luggages then back up to help me bring the stroller down. Some nice man walking with his wife helped carry the bottom of the stroller (we didn’t even ask!) and we got everything down in a swift. Also, little babe brought her baby doll, Carol, with her in her stroller, but then would throw her out randomly. Ole Carol would always be returned by a friendly stranger though- even they were in a rush. While eating in a cafe, a man gave Eloise a balloon which made her day. I could go on with all the of friendlies we met.
  5. Know your child. Weird tip, huh? What I mean about knowing your child is that you will know when your child needs to stop, get out of the buggy and want to run around. For us, we booked things to do in the morning time (our little babe’s prime good mood time) and left the afternoon open. If she wanted to keep going, we kept touring around. If she wanted a break, we found a cute park with a playground and had a picnic. I loved it! The picnics were one of my favorite memories.

THINGS WE DID:

  1. Hyde Park- picnic by the lake
  2. Kensington Garden- Cute Princess Diana play ground inside with a carousel
  3. Buckingham Palace- changing of the guards is at 11:30 AM
  4. The London Eye- preorder tickets online, must fold up your buggy
  5. Jubilee Gardens- cute playground area by the London Eye
  6. Westminster Abbey- there was a long line and cost $$ to get inside
  7. Big Ben
  8. Cruise on the River Thames- we booked with the London Eye here
  9. Be sure to eat Indian Food (Mmmm)- we ate at Salt ‘n Pepper by Trafalgar Square
  10. The National Gallery
  11. Harrod’s
  12. Tower Bridge
  13. London Bridge

Click here to see our London video.

If you have tips to add, please leave them in the comments.

Xoxo,

mrsabbys

 

Paris, je t’aime

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Our time in Paris was made even more memorable by taking professional family photographs (BIG shout out to Alex Baranda Photography for gifting us such a special gift). I would highly recommend it, especially in the city of love. Our photographer, Nadia from Better Travel Photos, was so kind, patient with our very active 15 month old and knew a plethora of information about Paris even giving us recommendations on a place to eat.

You will never regret capturing sweet memories of your family. I can’t wait to hang these memories on our wall.

Xoxo,

mrsabbys

**Disclaimer: All rights belong to mrsabbys. Do not copy.

11 Tips For Flying With A Baby

Traveling is a big part of me and my husband’s life since we have been together. When we were expecting our first child, we wanted to bring her along on the adventure. We didn’t know exactly how that was going to go. I read blogs, watched YouTube travel tips, called the airline for advice & we still made mistakes. We have successfully flown 5 out of 6 flights with our little babe (1 flight was a disaster). We are definitely not experts, but we have learned a few things along the way.

  1. Book direct. If you can, book a direct flight to your destination. You don’t want to wake your baby up if he/she just fell asleep to make a connecting flight. Our flight to Las Vegas didn’t have a direct flight so we were forced to have a layover. When choosing a layover, make sure you have enough time to get to change a diaper before boarding your next flight. We usually choose an hour layover. You don’t want it to be too long, either.
  2. Book during nap time. We book our flights in the mornings. She is the best in the morning. We change her, feed her then she naps. On our flight back from Las Vegas, she slept the entire flight and woke up when we landed. It was awesome. We made a mistake when we flew back from Orlando in choosing a direct flight over a morning flight. We flew in the evening, and she absolutely hated it. We were all miserable. She cried the entire 2 1/2 hour flight. With all the stares from the people around us and even some from the flight attendants, it felt like an eternity. A sweet old man sat next to us and he kept telling us, “It’s okay, we’ve all been there.” And they have… we all have.
  3. Bring a copy of their birth certificate. We usually fly Southwest and they require a copy of our baby’s birth certificate to validate she is under 2. You can check them in either by calling when you book online or at the all service desk.
  4. Get to the airport early. We get to the airport at least 2 hours before our flight. Traveling with a baby means you have more luggage, require increase inspection in the security line and need some time before boarding to change a potential dirty diaper. Also, we give enough time to let our baby walk around near our gate to let a little energy out before having to buckle down in our laps.
  5. Security Line. I carry our baby in our Ergo. It makes it easier for me take my shoes off & fold the stroller (depending on the size of your stroller, you either have to run it through the x-ray or if it’s too big they will have to manually search it). Security will also test your hands for any explosives, which is super easy & fast. You’re allowed to bring formula, pumped breast milk or water for powder formula. They will test them to make sure it is what it is suppose to be and there is nothing else on them. Instead of having them open a bottle of formula, which is wasted if not drank within the hour, you or your significant other can elect to be manually searched. Hubs is always the one that gets searched. This may take a bit of time depending on how many people they are searching ahead of you.
  6. Family boarding. When we get to our gate, we always ask if there are any empty seats on our flight. We got lucky on our flight to Las Vegas. We had the whole row to ourselves and our daughter was able to look out the window, but also, we had easy access to go to the bathroom or just stand to rock her, if needed. Like I said, we usually fly Southwest which does not have assigned seating. They do have family boarding after all “A” seating has been called.
  7. Bring lots of snacks! I am all about giving them snacks on the plane to keep them quiet. Also, flying can cause dehydration & cause a fussy baby so don’t be stingy with giving milk early or giving water.
  8. Bring toys. I wouldn’t go crazy bringing a lot of toys, but bring a favorite toy or book. Also, bring a new toy and don’t show him/her until the flight. If all else fails, always bring an iPad. Our little babe is still too young for the iPad, but we brought one just in case (we didn’t end up even using it).
  9. Window or Aisle? If you’re unable to get the whole row, which seat is best? I tested both out and definitely have a favorite. The pros with the window seat is that the baby can look at the window and be distracted by lifting the shade up and down. But the cons outweigh it. The pros with the aisle definitely top the window seat. It’s easy to go to the bathroom if needed or walk around if she’s fussy. Also, we usually sit towards the back of the plane (not the very back because the seats do not recline). There are people going to the bathroom to distract him/her, engine noise and I feel like the people that sit there know what they are getting into!
  10. What to pack in your carry-on. I pack more than enough diapers just in case of flight delays and use overnight diapers for increase absorption. Also, extra onesie because you never know if there is going to be a leak or blow-out, you don’t want to be stuck with a naked baby or stinking like poop for the entire flight. On that note, pack yourself an extra shirt, too, because you don’t want to stink like poop, either! 🙂 It’s also okay to bring medication for your baby through security, and I highly recommend always being prepared. You never know when they will be allergic to something or end up getting sick. Other very important things: wipes (I wiped down everything she can possibly touch!), travel changing pad (very small table to change in the Southwest bathrooms- new planes have changing table in all bathrooms, old ones only have them in the front bathroom), milk, toys, snacks for baby and you, ziplock bags to place wet or dirty clothes, paci to help with air pressure ascending & descending (feeding baby also helps). We put all these items in a booksack instead of our diaper bag because it has more space.
  11. What to dress baby in. How to dress your baby for a flight depends on their age. Eloise’s 1st flight was when she was just 11 weeks old. I dressed her in a footed onesie so I wouldn’t have to worry if her socks fell off &  risk her feet getting cold. Now, that she is almost a year old, I dress her in pants, socks, shoes, sweater & a zipped jacket that can be taken off if she gets too hot.

A bonus tip is to pack light. I’m still trying to work on this. In our most recent trip, I cut back to one large luggage for all 3 of us using travel organizers, but we had extra clothes so I think I could’ve cut back to a medium size luggage. We stayed at my sister’s house so we were able to wash clothes & I could’ve cut back if I thought about that. So, if you are able to stay at a HomeAway or Airbandb that has a washer & dryer, plan on washing clothes to save space. Also, pack mix & match outfits to be more versatile. I’m still working on this! LOL.

 

We are going on our little babe’s 1st international trip in June, if y’all have any advice/tips please comment below. Also, if I missed a good tip, comment below!
XOXO,

mrsabbys

Travel Diary: I dream of Marfa

I have been dreaming of spending some solitude in Marfa, more specifically El Cosmico, for a few months now. I really wanted to stay in a yurt, but the only time we were available to stay for a couple nights were in December. I did see that the yurts have a fire pit to keep you warm, but with a baby I can just imagine us constantly chasing her away from it. We opted for the airstream which included a heater and an indoor bathroom with shower! WooHoo! We, also, brought our little pup and celebrated her 10th birthday around the sun. It was nice to have our whole family there.

The drive to Marfa is about 6 1/2 hours from us. The last time we drove during the day with our little babe was miserable. We stopped frequently to feed and to change her and she still cried -a 3 hour road trip took 5 hours! We started to drive with her at night, which has been great since she just sleeps. This time, we were unable to travel during the night, but surprisingly she did so well during the day.

When we arrived in our airstream, it was a dream… an airstream dream 🙂 The countertop was hot pink, the comforter was this awesome rainbow color and there were supplies to make a pour over. The heater was already on so it was nice and cozy. I was so happy that Eloise loved their bed and stayed away from the heater or anything else that could be dangerous. She liked crawling to the windows and looking outside. We did bring a few of her toys to keep her entertained, too. The campground also included a communal kitchen and hammock area and you can rent dutch tubs or bikes. Since it was super cold when we went, we stayed inside most of the time.

We bought groceries and stayed in for dinner and breakfast the next day. It was so nice to just do nothing. Hubs read his devotional and I caught up on a book I have been trying to finish since summer. There were no distractions from the busy world. We were able to get closer to one another and to God. I know that might sound silly, drive 6 1/2 hours to find peace and quiet with one another and God, but it was nice to get away from any obligations or any electronic distractions.

We did do some “touristy” things. We checked out the Prada Marfa, which is 30 minutes away in Valentine. We were the only ones there so that was nice to snap pictures without people in it to make it even more desolate. Sweet Eloise fell asleep on the ride out there so she missed seeing the shoes and purses. There is a “love lock” fence in the back, where couples wrote their names on a lock and locked their love on the fence. We, also, went to the Marfa Lights, which was 10 minutes away. Eloise fell asleep again so I stayed in the car with her and hubs went to check it out. I was a little creeped out because it was dark and we were the only ones there! I did see something when we were leaving. We talked to a waitress that said many people believe the lights are demons, but it’s so sporadic that no one knows.

People have told us how much they love that we take our baby girl with us on our adventures and honestly, we love doing life with her. Sometimes, it can be tough if she is fighting her sleep and crying and everyone stares at you or you can’t stay in a yurt, but we feel like it’s worth it. We love showing her new things and letting her explore.

 

 

 

Travel Diary: Disney’s Magic Kingdom

We booked our flight to go to Florida to visit my husband’s grandma and other family members who haven’t met our sweet little babe yet. While we were there, we decided to go to Disney since it was close by.  We only went to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for one day, but we ended staying there for 15 hours!

Nowadays, going any where with a baby takes a lot of preparation. I packed all her diapers, extra outfits and food the night before so we would be ready to go early in the morning. I, also, packed her Minnie Mouse costume which included a cute ear headband to match her outfit.

We got there an hour after the park opened with our matching t-shirts 😉 It just happened to be Mickey’s 88th birthday that day and we all got birthday buttons. I was overwhelmed at first because there were SO many people! We took a ton of pictures before we even made it to Cinderella’s castle. We bumped into a line to see Minnie Mouse and noticed it wasn’t that long so we got her first character autograph. We, also, waited in line for Starbuck’s on Maine st. 😉

I had already gotten our fast passes for the Jungle Cruise, so we headed to Adventureland first. Eloise’s first ride was a success! She was clapping, smiling and making happy sounds. I forgot my GoPro to capture it all, but it will be embedded in my memory forever. After the Jungle Cruise, we found more characters to sign her autograph book. Eloise also loved the carrousel! She was screaming of glee, and when the ride was over, she cried! Bless her heart! We wished she would’ve been awake for the Little Mermaid ride- Under the Sea- because she would have loved all the colors and songs. One of our friends recommended the Winnie the Pooh ride. She is so inquisitive, just looking and observing while Tigger popped out of nowhere! We, also, added Winnie the Pooh and Tigger’s autograph in her book. Of course we had to ride “It’s a small world” because I feel like that is a mandatory thing to do while at Disney. Eloise absolutely loved it! She smiled and looked in awe at every little doll. Our last ride was Peter Pan, which she was barely awake for. I couldn’t blame her because it was almost 11 pm! By the end of the night, we were exhausted, but we had the time of our lives!

We bought the Very Merry Christmas tickets, which allowed us to stay at the park until midnight, see Christmas shows, the fireworks and attend the Christmas parade!

If you ever wonder if you should take your baby, I hope these pictures will enlighten you. Seeing her reaction to the lights, songs, characters and even the fireworks made us glad we made our first family trip to Disney.

We were surprised Eloise didn’t cry at all when we took pictures of the characters. We saw some kids crying and running away when it was their turn. Also, it’s awkward when you speak to the characters and they are in their character. I don’t know what to say to them! Eloise fell asleep while seeing Princess Aurora and she said, “Oh, another sleeping beauty. She’s just waiting for her true love’s kiss.” I was like, “Uh, yeah her daddy’s.” Hubs and I, also, realized that we don’t know our princesses. We met Merida from Brave and never watched the movie so when she started talking about her brothers, we had no idea what to say.

We truly made magical memories at the happiest place on Earth.

Xoxo,

mrsabbys

5 Reasons Why I Love Fall

Pumpkins, costumes, seasonal events, “cooler” weather… what’s not to love about Fall?

I’m loving this season even more with our little babe. We love to see how she reacts with new experiences. There are tons of events to do during this season.

5 Reasons Why I Love Fall:

  1. PUMPKINS. I remember going to pumpkin patches with my sister and her family.  I had fun hanging out with my nieces and seeing how excited they were looking for the ‘perfect’ pumpkin. Now that I have a child of my own, I love sharing experiences that I love with her. At, 7 months she went to 3 pumpkin patches- diva! I would sit her up on the pumpkins and she would slap her hand on them and smile. We picked up a few pumpkins and a lot of memories 😉 The last patch we went to was big. They had train rides, 2 corn mazes and so many different color pumpkins! She rode the barrel train with her daddy and did not like it. Poor thing!
  2. COSTUMES. I went to a consignment event in September and found some cute costumes- including 3 Disney baby princess costumes at $5 each which included the bow. Such a steal! At our first outing to the pumpkin patch, our little babe dressed up in her Cinderella costume. She was looking for the perfect magic pumpkin to take her to the ball! 🙂 She, also, wore the Cinderella costume when we went to Zoo Boo at the zoo. She started off wearing a bee outfit, but it got hot. Then, she wore her Snow White outfit for a photoshoot with Lei and Kae Creations jewelry. She made it on a poster that the shop uses for all their vendor events! Next costume she wore was Alice in the wonderland for trunk-or-treat. She had the best trick-or-treating pail to go with the costume- a white rabbit! It was actually her Easter basket when she was just 3 weeks old.
  3. EVENTS. I love all the Fall events. We went to Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo and we had SO much fun. Seeing how she reacted to the animals and even feeding a giraffe was exciting for us. She gave the stank face on the elephants, but probably because the poop smell. She actually gave the biggest smile when we put her next to the anaconda glass, which was surprising! Another event we liked was getting “Boo’ed”. We were “boo’ed” by our neighbors and got some cute treats like stickers to decorate our pumpkin and fun band-aids. The fun continues when you “boo” another neighbor. We also were “boo’ed” by another mom in the mom’s club. Like I mentioned before, pumpkin patches, trunk-or-treat and of course, Halloween completes the seasonal events that we enjoy and do again next year.
  4. HALLOWEEN. We can check off Eloise’s first Halloween on our list. She dressed up as Princess Aurora, a hand-me-down costume from her cousins. We were invited to a Halloween dinner and trick-or-treating at our friend’s neighborhood. Our host had emoji cake pops, poop cupcakes and made us gals emoji shirts!  When we went trick-or-treating, we said we were getting treats “for the baby”. A few houses even had crackers for the baby to pass out! We had the best time.
  5. TRADITIONS. I already love Fall, but sharing this season with our sweet little babe made it even better. She checked off many firsts: first pumpkin patch, first trunk-or-treat, first time riding a barrel train, first time getting lost in a corn maze, first trick-or-treat. We hope all these seasonal events become family traditions that live on even when she has her own little babes.

Here are some pics of our October. It was a busy month and definitely one for the books!

 

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Fall? Leave a comment with your response.

Xoxo,

mrsabbys

ps- I’m still waiting for cooler weather.

5 tips for surviving ACL with a baby

 

 

Hubs and I love music. We love going to concerts and music festivals. We’ve attended Austin City Limits every year (except 1 when we first moved to NC) since we got engaged. When I became pregnant, I knew I wanted our little babe to experience our adventures with us. People told us we wouldn’t be able to keep up with our travels & concerts, and that having a baby would change our lives. Well, one of that is true. She did change our lives… for the better. We didn’t realize what we were missing until she came into our lives. She’s made our adventures even more memorable.

Tips for surviving an all day concert with a baby: 

  1. Be prepared. I read other blogs about bringing babies to music festival to know what to bring and to expect. I, also, read what I can bring on the official ACL site and called them to clarify on what kind of baby food or formula I could take in. (For ACL: I was able to bring new & unopened baby food and formula. They allowed a small cooler with an ice pack only for this purpose. ACL does offer a space for nursing and a comfortable changing area. But I saw women nurse anywhere, and we changed a poopy diaper right in the middle of Chris Stapleton!) 
  2. Overpack. I brought extra everything. I didn’t what to get to the music festival and run out of wipes or diapers! I brought a 50 pack of diapers- LOL – We’ve never used that many in one day, but you never know! I brought 3 extra outfits, including a night outfit. I was planning to change her into it before we got in the car to make an easy transition to her crib when we got home, but she fell asleep earlier than expected.
  3. Bring the essentials. We brought our Ergo carrier, and it was a life-saver. She is going through a leap and gets fussy when not held so it was convenient to have her in the carrier and for our arms to still rock out 😉 We also brought our BOB stroller and what a blessing that is! The BOB can go through grass, pavement, rocky terrain with such ease. We place her in the stroller for naps and it carried all our belongings. Don’t forget their ear muffs, too. The music may not be that loud to you, but it can damage their little ears. We also used the ear muffs when she slept to help reduce the noise.
  4. Let them be little.  When we got to the park, we went to the Austin Kiddie Limits and let her play around. She joined a drum circle, rowed on a stuffed canoe, and we all donned props and made memories in the photo booth. Then, we fed her, changed her and let her crawl around in the shade for about 3 hours. Also, don’t get embarrassed. She had a huge blowout in the middle of Chris Stapleton. We had to use 3 diapers to contain her! At first, hubs was trying to change her in the stroller, but it was making it worse. So, we just placed her on a mat on the ground and changed her. We were surrounded by people and I’m sure they were all staring, but we had to do what we had to do!
  5. Take it easy. Our reality of taking our 7 month old to ACL was better than our expectations. We knew we couldn’t run around from stage to stage trying to be front row. We knew we might not see everyone we wanted to see that day. But that’s okay. We had a few challenging things happen (i.e. blowout, spilling her baby food all over herself), but we loved sharing this experience with her.

Overall, we are so happy that Eloise was able to witness her parents’ love for music. We definitely will take her again next year!

 

Xoxo,

mrsabbys