Whichever category you fall into, here are five essentials (over and above the obvious; like sun cream, sun hats, wet wipes & bottles of water) to never leave home without this summer.
- Big sunglasses. Yes, protecting your eyes from the sun is very important, but so is hiding the lack of sleep eye bags/fact you couldn’t be bothered with makeup that morning, and being able to secretly
spy on other peopleinnocently people watch at the beach/park/wherever else you go. Plus they look good, obviously. (Pro-tip: Have a peek on ebay for cheapies & have a back up pair stashed too in case of loss/breakage.)
- Notebook & pen. I’ve been a notebook carrier since forever, but I never imagined how useful it would be when I had a kid. Use it to let your baby scribble neonatal works of art, let your toddler fine tune their stick men, and older kids can practice their letters, play hangman, noughts & crosses… endless possibilities. We’ve survived many a long train ride by letting Shorty write lists of all the stations and places we pass through. Better yet – old fashioned notebooks don’t run out of charge like iPads do. (Pro-tip – add a sheet of stickers to the mix and bask in the glow of a quiet, well behaved child. Peeling & sticking is like meditation or something for kids.)
- At least a fiver in pound coins. Every so often, it’s easier to just give in to ‘pleasecanihaveanicecreeeam??!’ when you’re out and about – it’s the summer holidays after all. However, if you’re anything like me, you try to avoid taking cash out unless you really need it, because physical cash disappears way faster than debit card cash – however not many ice cream vans take card payments, so a little bit of change is essential.
- Snacks. Hungry kids are whiney kids. Fact. So my bag is never without boxes of raisins, packets of fruit roll ups and other healthy little treats – plush a few mini bags of Haribo for emergency sugar rush administration – ie. When child looks like falling asleep on the train home after a day out – 6pm nap? Not on my watch kiddo. (Pro-tip: Snacks are also an excellent diversion technique when queuing to get on rides/get into attractions etc.)
- Pac-a-Macs. I know, I know. The *height* of anti-fashion, but however whiney hungry kids are – cold and wet ones wearing shorts & t-shirts in a downpour are worse. So buy the cheapest Pac-a-Macs you can find – one for each member of the family and stash them at the bottom of your bag. With a little luck, they’ll stay there and never see the light of day, but at least if the Great British Summer proves to be predictably unpredictable, you’ll be covered – literally.
What magical lifesavers would you add to the list? I hope this lot helps you have a fantastic, stress free summer with the littlest love(s) of your life – enjoy!