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Being Mum Lifestyle Parenting


We are frantically working on gross motor skills at the moment with Ariella, now she’s back on full form we took her for a walk through Wisley gardens over the weekend. I had planned to take her to a messy play session but I double booked our shopping delivery over the time slot – doh! I have no idea how I managed to do that given that it was in my calendar and I’m usually quite good with these things! We decided to just take the Tula carrier in case Ariella did get tired, we’ve never tried walking her that much and really until now she’s not been coordinated enough to walk for extended periods of time.

To make it easier for Ariella I wanted somewhere with flat paving and we walked with her (one of us each holding a hand) all the way around. We picked her up a couple of times when she seemed to be getting more wobbly but she did quite a few long walking sessions like this and she was suitable knackered by nap time. In addition to these walks we are still taking her swimming each week as well as weekly hydrotherapy swimming sessions to help her with mobility. Swimming is really beneficial to children with hypermobility – the connective tissue is much more pliable and stretchy. Gentle exercise is recommended and swimming puts less pressure on the joints while strengthening muscles, control and balance so is ideal.

During swimming on Sunday Ariella did a mixture of proper swimming in deep water and also toddling in the shallow areas. We are lucky that we have a children’s splash style leisure pool with slides and fountains, a wave machine and lots to look at rather than a plain pool. This weekend she was walking in the water holding hands very well, it was lovely to see and she looked quite confident. We didn’t have as much stress getting her dressed either, she still screamed a lot but I think keeping everything routine seems to help. We try to go to the same changing cubicle area, put our things in the same or near locker and keep the routine of getting her into her costume the same. Over the last few years since Ariella was born we’ve done a variety of swim classes with her from the main stream branded classes with Waterbabies to more structure children’s swimming (with less rhymes) to hydrotherapy. She’s very happy in the water and confident, it’s really just getting her ready for the job that can be more challenging.

It’s useful to take a few paid for lessons so that you know how to hold toddlers in the pool, how to get the maximum benefit of their swim time and make it feel like playing for them. Pool toys are great, I’ve bought some for our holiday as I’m hoping that we will be able to swim with Ariella a lot you can pickup something like these flip toys for your holiday. These teach children to blow bubbles to flip them, something that you can do anyway while swimming in front of them.

Zogg Kids Seal Flips – Picture from Amazon

Following on from our walk yesterday, today we decided to go to a park and leave both the Stokke Xplory and Tula carrier at home. We wanted to give Ariella as much opportunity to walk for herself so we held her hands and accepted that it was going to take much longer than normal (with a few pick ups). This would have been impossible when she was unwell with her dragging leg as she just didn’t have any balance at all. The last week we’ve really noticed quite a difference some of the lovely things we’ve picked out particularly are:

  • Talking to her new Monkey, making him wave his arms, clap his hands, walking him
  • Touching her own body parts and naming them.
  • Understanding the concept of self – every couple of months I put some lipstick on Ariella’s head in the mirror to see if she realises that is there. It’s used to identify awareness of self in children, they realise that they are looking at themselves and that something is different. Today Ariella realised the lipstick was on her head and went to touch it, we asked her what she was looking at and she said “Me”.
  • Playing with her toys more in an imaginative way
  • Showing an interest in colouring, putting the pens back in their pot

This is really promising as many of these are “cognitive and social” development milestones for eighteen month olds and if so that means that cognitively and socially Ariella is catching up slightly and closing the gap. We are doing a lot of work with her daily to try to aid this and I hope that it continues to be the case. Hopefully with more time focusing on walking we might be able to bring the Gross motor up to this eighteen month milestone mark also, it would be lovely to see her walking by March.

The following snippet is taken from the CDC website.

What most babies do by this age:

Social and Emotional

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by


  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

We have been experiencing quite a bit of gagging on food lately, most meals there is a risk of vomit. We’ve left it a little while to rule out illness but it’s still happening so I’ll need to go flag it up with the doctor next week. I want to discuss a NHS referral for occupational therapy anyway, although I have been told the wait list is really very long so I am looking into private options. But it’s worth checking with the doctor first to confirm what the wait times really do look like. Occupational therapy would help with developing fine motor, sensory and may possible help with the gagging on food but it depends what is causing that.

I decided to buy Ariella a Groclock sleep trainer, sometimes she wants to wake up lately very early and asks for breakfast. Although I don’t know whether it will work yet or whether she might need to be older I thought that this would be a good way to try to teach Ariella when bedtime starts and ends. You set the time and the time you want to be “wake up”, each night you set it to go and the little stars slowly disappear. Once all the stars have vanished and the sun will come up, letting Ariella know when it’s time to wake up. I’ll let you know how this goes, she does know what a star is so that’s helpful!

The clock came after Ariella was asleep thanks of Amazon Now! I’ll give it a go tomorrow night, the little lady is suitably tired from both days of walking. Today she did swimming and walking so extra tired, not a single sound has been heard from her since bed time. Lets hope she doesn’t have us up at 5.30am again tomorrow!

Being Mum Lifestyle Parenting Travel

Packing for a long haul trip to the Indian Ocean with a toddler

Since Ariella was born we haven’t taken her on a plane, we decided to go for an American trend the “Babymoon” instead while I was pregnant to Antigua as our last holiday for a while. It’s much easier to transport them when they don’t know what’s going on! and can’t protest. We wanted to take advantage of the discounts children receive when flying and staying in resorts before she is two so decided 2017 was the year to jump right in and take Ariella out of the UK. Typically we don’t do things by half measures and booked in for a seven hour flight with a two hour stop over followed by a four hour flight touching down in the capital of the Maldives. After which we will grab a boat transfer to our island, I can’t remember how long this is!

This therefor requires a little thought and forward thinking on our part, keeping a toddler entertained for seven hours in a confined space only to repeat the process again two hours later is quite a feat. Challenge accepted! To make this as easy as possible I wanted to be sure to pack everything we would need.


We are lucky that Ariella get’s her own hand luggage allowance, this varies depending whom you fly with so check ahead of time. I couldn’t decide at first what would be the most simple solution for Ariella’s hand luggage. I wanted it to be accessible as I would most likely be taking it down from the overhead storage often, but also if possible something fun and interesting for her.

I spent a lot of time looking online and really loved the Trunki, but as Ariella doesn’t like riding on her Microscooter yet I have my suspicions that she won’t want to ride on a Trunki (which has even less support). I would definitely get this is she did, but instead I thought a small backpack would be okay for her hand luggage and we will use the same hold-all we use for her normally as her hold luggage.

The backpack I’ve ordered is this Babymel Zip & Zoe Mini backpack with reins from Jojomamanbebe. I’m guessing if Ariella is walking by March then she can wear it which will be fun for her, the reins are removable. I’m undecided if I would use them or not, it really depends on how Ariella listens to instruction when walking. If she isn’t walking by then, one of us can easily carry it and although it won’t fit her iPad in, we will put this in one of our hand luggage bags instead.

Picture credit – Jojomamanbebe website

What I’m packing in our hand luggage

Ariella’s hand luggage

I always find it useful when packing for Ariella to consider her needs and split them down. For example I look at it like this.

Food & Water

Ariella won’t get food on the flight as she will be sharing our seats, so I’ll be taking two meals for the plane and we will have lunch at the airport together. I may stock up on my snacks for Ariella in the lounge too. We have weaned Ariella completely off milk and bottles but if you haven’t then you can always order your milk to Boots in the airport (airside) a few days before and collect it there.

The things in her hand luggage will be:

  • A bottle of water (purchased airside)
  • A cup
  • Healthy snacks for the plane and boat transfer
  • Dinner and Breakfast for the plane


We will try and keep her routine the same on the flights, so she will need all the things that she would normally to sleep.

  • Elephant comfort snuggler
  • A dummy
  • PJ’s for the flight
  • A blanket


This required a little forward thinking, I know from my own experience that Ariella will be very warm in any UK clothes over there so we intend to change her into more appropriate clothing on route. She will need suncream too as I’m not sure the boat transfer is covered and we will arrive in morning.

  • 4 x Nappies for the flight
  • 1 x Fresh wet wipes – We use the water wipes but any will do
  • 1 x Nappy bag pack
  • 1 x Changing mat
  • 1 x Summer dress
  • 1 x Sun hat
  • 1 x Sandals
  • 1 x Sun glasses
  • 1 x Travel pot of suncream – I’ll decant this myself into little travel size pots
  • 1 x Toothbrush
  • 1 x Travel pot of tooth paste – I’ll decant this myself too
  • 1 x Travel size nappy cream


I think this was probably the hardest to decide on, normally people recommend that you bring some toys that your child has never seen before for the flights. Stickers, small fidget toys, mess free art are some of the many examples but Ariella takes time to warm up to things in her environment so we are in her case going to take some favourites. I’m expecting the experience of the flight to be quite overwhelming for her so some reminders of normal will be good.

We will take:

  • Ariella’s iPad – I’ll load this with plenty of games, Cbeebies is available on a special children’s player app and you can download those too.
  • iPad charger
  • Headphones for the iPad
  • Books, we haven’t decided on these yet but will see where she is when we fly
  • Toys – A few small favourite toys nearer the time

We won’t need much for us, we will use the packs they give you on the flight mostly and perhaps a change of summer clothes for when we get there. This time we will take all our coats for the return trip in the UK, last time we went it was 0 degrees when we flew back and I was wearing flip flops and summer wear, I hadn’t packed a coat! Of course essentials like travel documents will go in ours too!

What’s going in the hold?

Change/Hygiene and Medicine

The Maldives requires no vaccinations and is free from Malaria, last time we visited we didn’t see any mosquitoes so we won’t bother taking spray this time.

In Ariella’s hold luggage we will pack:

  • Bulk of the nappies – We will take a months supply with us, knowing how a change in diet can upset little tummies we want to be prepared!
  • 4 x Waterwipes – We’ve allocated two packs a week
  • 2 x Factor 50 suncream, we will take a lesser spf one for us but we love the Banana boat range for Ariella.
  • Thermometer
  • Sachets of nurofen/calpol – These are great for travelling and they come portioned.
  • Summer clothes – T Shirts, shorts, dresses, beach play suits
  • Swim nappies – Plenty of swim nappies! I’ll probably take the disposable ones although I’m a big fan of the happy nappy reusable option normally.
  • Toddler toiletries – Shampoo, Wash and her thermostat for the bath.
  • Swimwear – lots of sets, over there it’s very warm and you spend most of your time in your swim wear.
  • Swimsuit UV Protected – The sun is very strong in the Maldives so I’ll be taking a UV suit for Ariella to wear when we feel that she will be out playing without shade.


  • 14 x Toddler snacks, enough for one a day in case Ariella doesn’t enjoy the food but given she eats so much variety I can’t imagine this will be an issue.


In addition to the hand luggage we are taking.

  • The rest of the PJ’s
  • Baby monitor – This will be useful for us in the evenings


Most family resorts have a kids club, ours will allow Ariella in if we pay for a babysitter as well (because she’s under the age range for the club). We expect to spend most of our time with Ariella and have coordinated our spa treatments which are already booked so that we can alternative them, this leaves one of us free to play with Ariella. We are staying in a beach villa this time with a pool and access to the lagoon so we will be taking lots of water toys and sand toys. I’m particularly fond of this Belgian company QUUT who make innovative beach toys so we may take some of these as they are all multifunctional.

Image credit to QUUT official website

  • Books – Ariella loves reading at the moment, I’ll be sure to bring quite a few of these as they are slim and easy to transport.
  • Swimming pool toys that float – As I mentioned above, we will have lots of water opportunities in the Maldives so I want to make sure that we use our environment for play.
  • A bucket and spade set from Melissa and Doug
  • A selection of familiar toys from home
  • Sticker book


We are taking her Tula toddler carrier, we won’t bother with the Stoke Xplory. We won’t be doing much walking due to the nature of being on a small island. I did look at travel strollers but we just don’t need it, it would probably be more difficult to navigate the sand with wheels anyway.

In our bags

Most of our clothing will be very light linen, beach cover ups, summer hats and I’ve dug out all the items I stored away from my last trip. The temperature averages between 29 – 32 degrees celsius but feels even hotter on the skin when you aren’t in shade. I wouldn’t bother with taking a jumper or cardigan as I don’t remember using mine once last time, even when it rains it’s warm. Think light, beach wear, sandals, flip flops, bare foot bliss.