Breaking the City with a Toddler

We love a good city break, the chance to discover a new city in between our longer trips, which these days aren’t as often as we’d like.
When we became parents we thought those city break days were over, the fact we’ve taken a ridiculous amount of luggage on each trip since Milo arrived and the fact it usually takes him a good two nights to settle in a new bed meant we were hesitant about a trip that would take him as long to get used to as we were actually away.
But we decided the only way to see if it was possible was to try it, the worst case scenario being that we had an awful trip and wouldn’t do it again.

Four days (three nights) in Lisbon was our choice, flying with TAP Airlines – hand luggage only.

Packing was scary. Most airlines give you a hand luggage allowance for an under two lap passenger, but is it realistic to lug three small suitcases around as well as a stroller, a nappy bag and don’t forget the actual child. No it’s not.
So we packed two small hand luggage size suitcases and took Milo’s changing bag as well.
We packed as light as possible, I planned my outfits beforehand, taking a skirt that could be mixed with one of four tops, travelled in my warmer clothes in case I needed them and then packed one other dress. Milo’s Daddy did similar (no dresses though). For Milo I have included our full packing list below. Would I say we missed anything, not really, maybe we could have done with a couple of extra nappies (we ended up buying a pack while there) but other than that I think we cracked it.

We purchased specifically for this trip the GB Qbit Stroller (approx £179 at time of purchase) we did a fair bit of research and the fact it folds down to hand luggage size was the deciding factor. We did check it in but knowing we have that option in the future is a bonus.
It’s small and lightweight and perfect for the beautiful small, skinny, cobbled streets of Lisbon. I could not recommend this stroller more. It took a little getting used to as I am used to Milo’s Uppababy at home and the wheels are closer together (to make it compact) which meant a few catches of the feet the first time of using but other than that I loved it!

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Lisbon – what a city!!! 

This was Milos seventh flight and he was a little gem as usual. Our only tip would be to download a ton of twirlywoo videos (or your child’s favourite) and keep them awake as long as possible beforehand. It seems to have worked for us so far.

Usually we would have done public transport but with a small child we decided taxis were the best option. The hotel was lovely. I did a ton of research before we booked and found a stunning hotel that offered apartment style rooms. The Lumiares hotel in the Bairro Alto district was perfect for our stay. We booked a studio room and it had by far enough space for the three of us. They provided a travel cot and it tucked away nicely just out of sight of our bed (if Milo sees you in the morning he will not go back to sleep)
It did take him two nights to settle, so at 5am both mornings he was up and chatting away, it meant we were first in best dressed for breakfast and it also meant we hit the pillow at 9pm. The third morning he slept until our alarm at 8. It didn’t matter though, early mornings meant more time to see the sights.
The Lumiares provided a lovely breakfast each morning but also had a kitchenette in the room should you want to do extra bits for your little ones. We didn’t use it but it seemed well equipped.

We had the most wonderful four days. Milo is a great eater, he sampled all of Portugal’s favourite dishes. He sat there eating octopus like it was the tastiest thing ever, he definitely doesn’t get that from me, that’s all his daddy’s influence.

A great place to eat is the Lisbon Time Out Market. Set in a great location it offers informal dining with some world class foods. We ended up having at least one meal here a day, just because it offers so much choice and it was somewhere that children were clearly welcome, families were everywhere. Don’t leave without trying a pastéis de nata from Manteigaria located just as you walk through the main entrance, they are quite literally the best thing I have ever tasted.

We would also highly recommend a trip to the absolutely amazing Lisbon Oceanarium. Listed as the second best in the world we had high hopes for this place and it surpassed every one of those.
The days were long and he was shattered by the end of each one. Taking a stroller meant he could fall asleep if he needed, while we would walk back to the hotel after dinner.

It was one of my favourite trips since he was born. My only advice would be if there is something you want to see on a city break and you can book tickets in advance, do that. We arrived at one attraction to find a 45 minute queue, we declined the chance to see inside because that is not fun or fair for any toddler!

My other advise is take calpol, neurofen or both. Milo cut a huge tooth while we were away and the calpol was a lifesaver. Medicines aren’t freely available in supermarkets like they are in the UK in many other countries and when it’s 10pm and the pharmacies are closed you will be so glad you’ve packed some.

Would we do it again. Most definitely. In fact we’ve already booked our next trip. Life is completely about creating memories and we want as many as possible.

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If you are considering a city break we would say DO IT! As a family we had a wonderful time and he might be young but he’s seeing new places, trying new foods, making memories and as we saw on a huge sign in Lisbon ‘moments are far better collected than things’!

 

Milo’s Packing List

(fitted into one half of a hand luggage case)

▪️Three pairs of shorts
▪️Four short sleeved baby vests
▪️Six t-shirts (he can be super messy)
▪️Four pairs of socks
▪️One wipe clean bib

▪️Two pairs of shoes (both trainers but one super comfy and one a little smarter)

▪️One pair of toddler reigns

▪️Mr Lion (we go nowhere without him)

▪️16 Nappies
▪️One packet of wipes (we purchased an extra while away)
▪️16 nappy sacks
▪️One bamboo muslin cloth (Zippy Bibs of course) for emergencies

▪️Toothbrush
▪️Toothpaste
▪️One tiny bottle of sunscreen – so glad we packed this as it was hot!
▪️One small bottle of Burts Bees baby wash (taken from a travel sized set)
▪️One bottle calpol
▪️A packet of Ashton’s and Parsons teething powder

He travelled in jeans and a hoodie and jacket which meant we had these items should we need something warmer but we were blessed with beautiful hot days!

 

 

 

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The Best Kind Of News.

Milo’s Story

The day I found out I was pregnant was an amazing but tough day. I had just eaten goats cheese and smoked salmon on toast, after a weekend away on the Guinness in Dublin, so it honestly wasn’t expected.

I’d always wanted to plan a surprise if we were lucky enough to fall pregnant, like the ones you see on you tube. You know, some buns in the oven or a t-shirt on Halloween with a skeleton baby in my skeleton tummy. What I didn’t expect was to be making a call over FaceTime and sharing the news to Milo’s daddy thousands of miles away (3,823.1 miles to be exact – I should know I googled it enough times) because he was in the desert, the sandpit they call Kuwait. He had been there for a year. At the time I was only weeks away from making the move myself, I’d stayed behind when he left to finish renovating the house that we had bought just before he was headhunted for a job away from home.

And for those of you wondering how you can get pregnant with 3,823.1 miles between you, we did see each other approximately every three weeks and it only takes one cheeky careless moment to create a miracle. Even my cheeky dentist made the joke about who was the daddy.

I don’t remember much of the call, I remember I facetimed from the toilet. I asked him to sit down and then I said I’d something to show him. Then there were tears (mainly from me) and a lot of the f*** word (in a good way) as I tried to position a bloody iPhone camera over a positive pregnancy test. In a perfect world that’s not how I would have broken the news, but at least it gives us something to laugh about now.

We found out in October, and we were exactly 12 weeks on Christmas Eve. We were even luckier to have our twelve week scan that morning. We couldn’t have timed that better if we’d been trying, and it did make for some very special surprises on Christmas Day. I finally got the chance to be creative, although watching back the videos I wouldn’t share them with the world, they are so special to us. But I’ll talk about them another time or I’ll be here all day.

I think if I could have it any other way I’d still have done it the same. It certainly wasn’t how I’d dreamt it would happen but it’s a story to tell, and if we are lucky enough to fall pregnant again then I’ve plenty of ideas saved, and I will definitely not be doing it over FaceTime.

 

Matilda’s Story

Before becoming pregnant I had always dreamt of doing a pregnancy test, finding out it was positive and then wrapping the stick up in a little box (yeah so maybe it’s a little gross), then handing it to my husband as a gift on a romantic date and watching his super happy face as he realised what his gift meant. However it didn’t really happen like that. I ended up doing the pregnancy test while my husband was around, however it was still amazingly perfect for us to wait together for those two and a half excruciating minutes, eagerly waiting to see how many lines would show up on the test.

So I also didn’t get the dream reveal to Matilda’s daddy, however just as Milos mummy did once we found out it was positive we got to tell our families in special ways. But let’s save that for another time.

Perfect Gifts for Teachers

Teachers work their backsides off to give our little monkeys the best chances in life. They teach them all the things that we can’t and educate them for the life ahead.
My mum was a teacher, and it didn’t mean much to me when I was little except for that last week of term…..because that was when my mum would bring home 30 boxes of chocolates and because no mummy can eat that much my brother and I would get our pick. It was like a second Easter in our house, only with no bunnies, no eggs, but lots of quality street. My mum, as much as she appreciated all the boxes of tasty chocolates would always say how nice it would be to get something other than chocolates.

Well times have changed and these days teachers get less chocolates and plenty of other things. So this got us thinking, what can you buy those lovely ladies and gentlemen who work so hard at making our tiny humans clever.

A drinking vessel – We loved this ‘I Can’t Adult Today Mug’ so much when we first came across it that we decided to stock it at Milo and Matilda. Perfect for a teacher, it’s a great way to remind them that it’s summer and they have six weeks off from being an adult! We admit it, both of us in the Milo and Matilda office use this mug, it makes it a little hard when doing the tea run, especially when we forget which one has the sugar in, but honestly we couldn’t love this mug anymore than we do right now! We are sure any teacher would feel the same.

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Chocolates – If you are going to go down the traditional route and buy a box of something cheeky, we suggest getting something special. Hotel Chocolat is known for some of the finest and tastiest chocolates. You don’t have to spend more just buy a small token. We especially love these Caramel Tiddly Pots. If I was a teacher I’d keep a box of these in my desk at all times for nibbling on demand.

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Space form are well known for there lovely little glass tokens. These are the tiny gifts that last. These are a lovely way to show a teacher that they were special to your child. We love the one below, but there are other designs available, and some come with options to personalise them also.

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Pamper Gift Basket – Teachers work hard, they deserve a cheeky bit of pampering at the end of term. This is something you can put together yourself. Buy a small basket or box, put in a relaxing candle, bottle of bubble bath or a lush bath bomb and some luscious hand cream will do the trick (a favourite of mine is this Loccitane Shea Butter one.)          If your teacher is a man this can easily be adapted to suit, throw in a black pepper scented candle, some sandalwood soap and a bottle of whiskey scented bubble bath and your on your way to gift perfection.
If you haven’t got the time to make a gift basket there are a couple of lovely companies that we have seen who create some amazing baskets, including this Organic Pamper Box designed specifically for teachers.

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Flowers – Another of the more traditional gifts, but flowers can be so much more than a bunch. Try getting something that lasts a little longer, like potted flowers or a cactus. This way the gift isn’t finished in a week and can be enjoyed for weeks to come. We have just discovered this amazing flower company Bloom & Wild, they have a range of flowers that can be delivered through the letterbox. We especially love ‘The Jamie’ as this Trio of Succulents which are long lasting look absolutely amazing. Marks and Spencer offer a slightly larger version without the cute packaging.

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We asked a couple of teachers this week what the best gift was that they received from their little ones. One said Gin, we love that.

Finally a great suggestion from one of the teachers mentioned above was a class or group present. If you and some of the other mums are close it might be nice to club together and buy a the teacher something special. A little piece of jewellery or a larger version of the pamper hamper would be a super treat for any special teacher.

Whatever you decide on, the thanks from your tiny human is more than enough to put a smile on any teachers face for the summer…..however a bottle of gin will make that smile much bigger.