Preparing to Go On Holiday with Kids


Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 08.23.30I could easily dedicate an entire blog post to how much I love Steph. But that would be weird. Instead I’d urge you to a) check out her brilliant business ‘Don’t Buy Her Flowers‘ – thoughtful gift packages for all sorts of occasions, b) read her Guest List about the reality prepping for a family holiday.

Honestly, packing is one of my worst ever jobs, not to mention the awful person I become the day of departure. Steph’s list contains SO many home truths.


We’re all going on a summer holiday…

  • Packing with kids takes weeks of prep. The logistics of what goes in which bag, writing lists, ensuring entertainment for the journey, clothing for all weathers, just-in-case pants for the journey even though they’re out of that phase, snacks, a first aid kit and buying new summer clothes when you realise the four year old is wearing age 2-3, is all mind-numbingly dull but feels critical to the success of the holiday. And your partner appears to have NO IDEA of the effort, lists, headspace and, let’s face it, BRILLIANCE that has gone in to this packing extravaganza.

  • You used to buy a few special holiday outfits, maybe some new undies, plan in the wax/mani/pedi. You may get around to some of this, but it will be done in a last minute sweat – the difference is before kids this was done at a leisurely pace, it was part of the holiday.

  • If you run out of time and take to the VEET at the back of your bathroom cupboard not used since Mykonos 2007, be warned – it’s probably past it’s best. It may not be up to the job. Or it could remove part of your labia. Go careful.

  • I don’t know why as an adult I want to leave the house more tidy than it ever is when we’re living in it, with fresh sheets on the beds, toys all put away, a quick clear out of the cupboards and possibly a food delivery organised for when we get home, but I do. Doug looks at me as if I’m mental as I run from room to room barking things for him to do.

  • By the time it gets to the day before we leave, I’m in a frenzy and a little unhinged. I don’t know I am, but I am. I can say this with the power of hindsight and after a relaxing holiday. Don’t try to tell me that at the time though. Never tell an unhinged woman that she’s unhinged.Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 08.24.27.png

  • He will pack his own stuff at the last minute, probably not bring enough pairs of pants for the number of days we’re away, and say breezily ‘Well I’m ready’.

  • He will also view the packing of the car as the pinnacle of holiday prep. Step aside woman, only he can do this. It’s an art. Breathe through the inner rage. Focus on the holiday measures of spirits. 

  • Finally, you’re almost headed for the airport. Hang on, what’s he doing? We’ve calculated for delays, traffic, natural disaster and agreed we’re absolutely definitely leaving at 11.15am. At 11.16am Doug is tidily winding the lawn mower cord around his arm in an almost therapeutic trance as I banshee yell ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?’. (I posted about this on Instagram and it has been confirmed that this is a ‘thing’ that many men do. Just before you’re due to leave for holiday, or as guests arrive at your house, or basically at the time you least want them to drift off and become productive on something completely unrelated, it suddenly becomes imperative that they must do this thing. My favourites were hoovering the car, which was going to be sitting outside their house for two weeks, and putting up shelves that had been on the ‘to-do’ list for six months two minutes before everyone was due to leave for a christening. NOW you’re doing this? NOW?)

  • You notice one of the kids is jiggling from foot to foot. ‘Do you need a wee darling?’ ‘No, a poo’. Excellent.

  • You’ve learned from the last few years and given yourselves a bit more time to get to the airport. Visions of a smiling family – we’re on HOLIDAY!! – civilised meal and maybe a little pre-holiday drink start to erase the pre-holiday anxiety. We can do this. At this point insert a row as it dawns on you something has been forgotten. It goes something like:

“I said to you, don’t forget the bag on the sofa’ and you said ‘got it’’’ 

“No, I said to you is there anything else to pack because the car is full and I can’t work miracles. It was like Krypton Factor getting that boot packed”

  • The leisurely lunch is eaten in pained silence. The woman at the next table gives you the slightest nod that acknowledges everything. She knows. God bless the sisterhood.

  • One of you goes to check the boards and your flight has changed to ‘Gate Closing’. How the shitting hell does this happen every time? Panic ensues, flailing arms and bags and yells of ‘have you got the…?’ fill the silence as you bundle everyone towards the gate, which is of course the furthest from where you are. Every other person in the airport is strolling – no, meandering – along as you feel like incompetent travelling idiots. You want to stop and yell ‘It didn’t used to be like this!’ referring to your more sophisticated travelling days pre-children. Your other kid interrupts your thoughts with ‘Mummy, I need a poo’.

  • You board the plane last and try to hold your head high against the looks of the other passengers, which are a combination of piercing glares and pitiful smiles.

  • And we’re done. The trolley will be along in a minute. Everyone is in their seat and we’re going on HOLIDAY. That wasn’t so bad. You turn to give your husband a ‘we’re ok’ hand squeeze… and the fucker has fallen asleep. Before the plane has even taken off. Where’s that gin…?


  • I’d like to add, we are just at the end of our holiday and despite all the above (and an inability to hit the gin due to being pregnant – man that was tough) getting away from it all and being together was glorious.

  • And it has got easier as the kids have got older. I don’t feel the need to pack a collapsible stair gate or bed bumpers (yes, both have been on holiday with us and neither were used) NB it could be that our expectations are also lower…

  • When your child learns to swim or dive, it fills you with a pride like they’re the only kid in the world to have achieved this feat.

  • Once you let yourself relax, the letting go feels pretty good. No their usual daily quota of veg won’t be met. They’ll eat a phenomenal amount of ice creams and crisps. But hey, they’re foreign ice creams and crisps and therefore they’re trying something new and evolving their taste buds with foreign delicacies. Ahem.

  • The kids will still squabble/whinge/fight and you will still lose your temper but everyone can move on a bit quicker when the sun is shining and there’s another ice cream to be had.

  • Everything, EVERYTHING becomes a little easier with a 4pm aperitif.Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 08.26.26


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  • Reply Erin @motherbeastie August 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Honestly I’m so encouraged as we’re getting ready for our first ever family trip with not one but all three of our kids, 4yr, 3yr and 1.5yr – hoping everyone gives us grace. We’ve never flown as a family, thankfully it’s a short flight but oh my god am I shitting it. Mainly because me and my husband just got back from a weekend away in Norway without kids, and I’ve realised he completely panics in airports and is the most disorganised flyer on the planet. Where as I want to be there early and most of the time have my shit somewhat together… well once we are out the door. To fly as a family of 5… and I’m pregnant. Someone give me grace and I swear to god, I don’t need any negative comments from “helpful” strangers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Steph you totally owned that trip, and I seriously need your secrets.

  • Reply Kate September 1, 2017 at 9:37 am

    This. Is. Spot. On.

    👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 this could have been written about us 😳😤😠😡😑…. ✈️☀️🏖🙂😊😁

    Thank you for the lol’s this morning xx

  • Reply Now That’s What I Call A List 2017 – Mother of all Lists December 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm


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