Have Baby, Will Travel (Part 1).

I am slightly ashamed to admit that when l was a happy-go-lucky twenty-something traveller, l used to (silently) curse parents who brought small screaming babies onto planes. When my peers started creating ‘mini-me’s in my early thirties l developed much more sympathy, and just turned my headphones up a bit. Nowadays l am the parent in the front of the row of seats, desperately shovelling the hot meal into her mouth with her left hand whilst balancing a baby in the right; walking wild-eyed and wild-haired up and down the aisles trying to calm a fractious monster; performing contortions in the toilet to pee and change the baby simultaneously; and then tented under a blanket too afraid to move for hours lest the baby on her lap awake.

Now l have to do it all again, with a boy who is four months older, substantially larger, more mobile and wilful than on his last plane adventure. I like to be prepared (must be the Girl Guide in me) so have scoured the internet for helpful tips for travelling with a child in general, of which there are many – thankyou all you wonderful parent bloggers out there. Here follows my plan for survival (it will also, no doubt, include at least one beer).

Blanket and PJs. In the vain hope that there might be some sleep taking place.

Blanket and PJs. In the vain hope that there might be some sleep taking place.

Food Glorious Food. And, yes, l have decanted the formula into ziplock bags. Ziplock bags are my new post-it notes.

Food Glorious Food. And, yes, l have decanted the formula into ziplock bags. Ziplock bags are my new post-it notes.

Toys and books. Noisy Farm does what it says on the tin. Fellow passengers are going to be rudely awakened by cocks crowing and cows mooing. It will add a frisson of excitement to their otherwise boring airplane experience.

Toys and books. Noisy Farm does what it says on the tin. Fellow passengers are going to be rudely awakened by cocks crowing and cows mooing. It will add a frisson of excitement to their otherwise boring airplane experience.

The Essentials. Sterlising bags, bibs, muslins (the Aden & Anais ones are huge, we could probably make one into a parachute if we got desperate), and Calpol.

The Essentials. Sterlising bags, bibs, muslins (the Aden & Anais ones are huge, we could probably make one into a parachute if we got desperate), and Calpol.

A travelling outfit. This contains more layers than he has worn in his life. But it also looks cute, which may help me persuade other travellers to look kindly on him when he is trying to throw his rattle at them/wake them up with farm animal noises.

A travelling outfit. This contains more layers than he has worn in his life. But it also looks cute, which may help me persuade other travellers to look kindly on him when he is trying to throw his rattle at them/wake them up with farm animal noises.

If all else fails... have iPad, will distract baby.

If all else fails… have iPad, will distract baby.

Have Baby, Will Travel (Part 2) will follow when we arrive in the UK. In the meantime, if you read of a family that was evicted from a plane as their baby boy attempted to climb into the cockpit and drown the pilot in dribble, that is probably us.

P.S Any more tips from you wise parenting folk are always welcome.

Leaving the baby behind.

This may sound controversial, but sometimes leaving the baby behind is just brilliant.

Last weekend, for the first time in almost 7 months, l left The Boy behind. Intentionally, l might add, and at home in the capable hands of his daddy. It was a tearful moment as l waved goodbye from the window of the taxi, but by the time l had reached the airport (and had consumed a large Chai Tea Latte and a chocolate muffin) l was feeling better. In fact, excited about the prospect of a couple of days alone, exploring the temples of Siem Reap, a place that has been on my bucket list for years. I was not so excited, however, about the half marathon darkly looming on the horizon as well.

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P1030633Angkor Wat

I had thought l would spend the weekend worrying about, and missing The Boy and The Husband. I did up to a point, but l also relished some alone time, space to think, to explore, to sleep, to spend time with friends. To just be.

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And the half marathon? I managed that too, in the fastest time since l began running 10 years ago. Which made me pretty damn proud of myself.

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Lining up at the start

Sweaty but still smiling

Sweaty but still smiling

Then l got to go home to my two favourite boys, and to be honest, their smiles and hugs as l walked (hobbled) through the door meant more to me than any medal.

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

It was one of those moments that my Mum now dreads. The ones where I make seemingly random decisions that often end in near disaster*. Four years ago, heartbroken, ridiculously stressed and slightly delirious with exhaustion,  I booked a flight. To Stockholm. In December. On Friday. It was Wednesday. It started with a snow storm in the UK. My flight was delayed. I arrived after midnight, stepped out of the bus and almost drowned in snow (no exaggeration). Sweden has an abundance of snow. In fact, I spent the whole time marvelling at this white, twinkly wonderland that people were living in. Well, most of my time. The rest was spent wearing every item of clothing I had brought and fending off frostbite. Note to self: thin leather jackets and Converse are not appropriate winter wear north of the UK.

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Snow, snow, and more snow.

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Appropriate winter wear.

Luckily, there were also plenty of cafes to warm my frozen fingers in, which is where I developed an everlasting love for cinnamon buns. Sticky, sweet, warming and spicy, and perfect with a glass of gluwein. This is the food that mends sad hearts.

*This trip ended with a cancelled flight, no flights out for the foreseeable future, many hours in queues, and the possibility of Christmas spent alone in a hostel in Stockholm. My Mum came to the rescue again and I made it home for the holidays.

Cinnamon Buns

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Soft, sweet and spicy. Note the glass of milk instead of gluhwein (it’s not December yet!).

Ingredients

For the dough:
225ml milk
75g butter
300g plain flour
125g wholewheat flour
70g brown sugar
1tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
10g dried yeast
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
75g butter
50g brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

To finish:
1 egg, beaten
brown sugar

Mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, and yeast in a large bowl.IMG_5787
Make a well in the centre and mix in beaten egg, and milk that has been scalded with butter and then cooled. Mix it to a dough, cover with clingfilm and leave it in a warm place for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.IMG_5789
When dough has risen, roll out to the size of a laptop and spread filling over it. Roll up and cut into 7 slices, one smaller than the rest. Arrange in a greased baking tin.

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Cover, and put in a warm place for 30 minutes. When doubled in size brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 200 Celcius for 20-25 minutes.

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Leave to cool and then tear apart and eat. IMG_5808

Delicious, even if your heart is not broken. IMG_5814