24 hours into our first caravan holiday with our 13 month old, and we are curled up under a fleece blanket with a hot water bottle, listening to the banging of the high winds and battering rain against the flimsy walls and windows. Would we change that? Of course not!
It’s our summer holiday, and despite feeling like it’s mid-winter, we are content, happy and cosy, with cups of tea and our feet up, and enjoying being warm, relaxing in our own space, while baby is contently asleep (for now!).
With any caravan or camping holidays, you need to take everything, and I mean everything! We were packed out to the roof in the car thanks to baby stuff, and we still realised we hadn’t brought everything we’d need (well Lily was sorted, the rest of us weren’t!!) We may have only been here 24 hours, but there’s an array of items we couldn’t have made it this far without.
We love our Groblind blackout blind at home, particularly with the longer summer days playing havoc with Lily’s sleep. So we now take it everywhere overnight, and with a streetlight outside Lily’s caravan window, plus daylight reminding Lily that she should be wide awake, the GroBlind is a godsend. It’s so easy to put up (minus the emergency exit window sticker meaning I couldn’t stick up the top corner!), and helps us keep bedtime to bedtime – not sunset!
As always, the British weather is far from predictable, and inevitably with any UK summer holiday, it is guaranteed to rain. By the coast it’s always going to be blustery too (or gale force as in our caravan site), so our Bundlebean keeps Lily warm and cosy, dry, and protected from the sea breeze thanks to its fleece liner and splash-proof outer. It was even a lifesaver on the beach when we couldn’t get her wet, soggy, sandy leggings back on, so needed to keep her cosy on the way home! We also find she refuses to sleep in her pram without it. Those of you who have read my blogs (or Instagram page!) before will know we are firm fans of Bundlebean and take it everywhere, but once again we couldn’t have got through a coastal caravan holiday without it!
I’m not sure about bath situations in caravans, but we don’t have one. We also don’t have any containers large enough to fill/empty her inflatable bath in the kitchen (plastic tumblers and egg cups could take a while!), and the sink isn’t even big enough for the bowl, so we slotted her bath into the base of the shower, and she was a very happy bunny. We use this inflatable bath at home (bought cheap from eBay!) and loved it so much we bought one for my mum’s too. It deflates so can be stored completely flat, taking up zero room in the car, can fit into baths (or showers!), and has a little inflatable bump in the middle for between her legs to stop her slipping away. Not sure we could’ve survived this past year without it, let alone keeping to her standard bath-bottle-bed routine here on holiday.
With Lily’s travel crib squeezed between a wall, wardrobe and a narrow bed, I was petrified she’d find a way out, climb onto the bed, and make her escape – a ridiculous theory for a 13month old, but once it was in my head, it was set. Caravans make plenty of bumps and bangs, so monitor-watching for the first night was nonstop, in case she’d miraculously found her way out. Without it, I’d have been scrambling down the caravan at every bang just to check on her. It also meant we could get her down to bed and enjoy relaxing in the living area for the rest of the evening. But mainly ensure that the bang from the gale force wind outside wasn’t Lily leapfrogging out the crib…
Munchkin travel booster seat
I bought this on an impulse buy in the Boots sale entirely using Boots Advantage Card points. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but after just 1 hour of arriving at the caravan, I don’t know what we’d have done without it! It packs as a little compact bag, where I stored all her snacks in the plastic-protected box underneath for the journey (crushed carrot sticks are the worst!!). It then attaches safely to the normal seats, with little legs to boost her up while she’s still small, that can collapse when she’s a little bigger. Lily loves it as it means she can eat at the proper table with us, and we love it as it means a highchair isn’t taking up the entire small living space in the caravan.
And finally, we are thankful for… WD40!! Stocking up on missing items from Poundworld, we picked up some WD40. Just one use of this little gem and our holiday was revolutionised!!! Lily’s bedroom door creaked louder than every other door (seemingly 100x louder at 3am!!), so once we’d settled her into her bed, and tried to creep out like a stealth Ninja (not easy with creaky knees and a 30centimetre caravan doorway turning circle!), she’d be looking up at us again with her big eyes thanks to her bedroom door creaking like you’d see on an old cartoon. A few drops of WD40 and our stealth Ninja moves have once again restored, leaving a contently sleeping baby… for now!