Project Car Organisation…

I discovered this great blog by Living on a Latte on car organisation and it totally inspired me to give our family car a Project Mum makeover.  As with all my projects, I started out with a search on Pinterest and then pulled together a ‘Car Organisation’ board.

I completely fell in love with this image of brightly coloured car organisers…

Car organisers

…and I soon found a seller on Etsy (Khloe’s Boutique) to make me some customised car organisers in a combination of green & blue owls and green chevron fabrics.  I also ordered a large caddy in the green & blue owls fabric with green chevron lining to hold a selection of books and toys.

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Sebastian’s car organiser holds the following items:

  • Sun Cream
  • Tissues
  • Hand & Face Wipes
  • Carton of Ready-to-Drink Toddler Formula
  • Nappies
  • Baby Wipes

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The new baby’s car organiser holds the following items:

  • Bibs
  • Burp Cloths
  • Dummies
  • Disposable Changing Mat
  • Disposable Bottle
  • Carton of Ready-to-Drink Newborn Formula
  • Newborn Nappies
  • Baby Wipes
  • Nappy Bags

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The caddy is stored on the floor in front of Sebastian’s car seat and contains the following:

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  • Towel
  • Board Books
  • Electronic Toy
  • Throw-away Sippy Cups
  • Box of Snacks – I have filled a Huggies baby wipe box with a selection of Seb’s favourite on-the-go snacks

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I have a ‘Mummy Kit’ stored in the armrest at the front of the car which contains the following items:

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  • Kleenex Tissue Tube
  • Small Bin Liners
  • Nurofen
  • Strepsils
  • Lip Balm
  • Hand Cream
  • Mints/Chewing Gum
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Anti-Bacterial Surface Wipes
  • Air Freshener Spray
  • Post-it Notes
  • Pen
  • Sun Cream
  • Cereal Bars

I have a plastic cereal dispenser in the front of the car which serves as a compact rubbish bin.  I put a small bin liner inside so that I can easily remove the rubbish when it gets full.

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We recently turned Sebastian’s car seat from rearward facing to forward facing, and I took this opportunity to install the Goldbug Seat Protector & Tote Bag.  This seat protector mat goes underneath the car seat and protects against spills, scratches and indentations.  The mat has mesh pockets at the front for additional storage, and the snap-off tote bag clips to the side of the mat giving the child easy access to drinks, snacks and toys.

Car seat protector

John Lewis sell some fantastic car seat accessories and offer international delivery for many of their products.  I have the Koo-Di Wetec Seat Protector in the baby capsule to protect against the inevitable nappy leaks.  I also purchased the Close Parent Car Seat Protector for Sebastian’s car seat to catch all of the crumbs from his snacks.

Seb Car Seat Protector

Another great find from John Lewis was the Snoozeshade Infant Carrier Shade which is a much better alternative to draping a large muslin over the infant capsule (as I often did with Sebastian!) and it has a great “sneek-a-peek” zippered window at the front so that you can easily check on baby.

snooze shade

I could not resist getting the Bondie Bird Playwrap to keep the new baby entertained on long car journeys.  It attaches easily to the headrest, and features lots of different textures and activities.  The playwrap can actually be used in 6 different ways – in the cot, around mum’s shoulders, on baby’s lap, in the car, on a highchair tray, attached to a window, and on the plane.

Playwrap

Another car toy that I recommend for younger rearward facing babies is the Taf Toys Toe Time Infant Car Toy.  This attaches easily to the headrest and features music and light activated by baby’s kicks.  Sebastian loved this toy and it kept him occupied on some very long car journeys when he was younger.

Taf Toys Toe Times

We have the Brica Baby In-Sight Mirror for the rearward facing baby seat.  This mirror is extra-large for a wide-angle view of the baby, and it attaches very easily to the headrest.

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Even the car boot has been given a makeover with a Collapsible Car Boot Organiser  holding the following items:

  • Towel
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Car Toys
  • Ball
  • Shopping Bags
  • Antibacterial Wipes
  • Insulated Bottle Bag
  • Box of Cereal Bars

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So I should have everything I need to survive a car journey with 2 children under 2, and I had great fun giving our car the “Project Mum” treatment…Mr G is just a little confused about where all his stuff has gone!

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Surviving Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight…

I flew back to the UK when Sebastian was just 9 weeks old and I was secretly dreading making the 24 hour journey from the moment that my little man was born.  Of course I could not wait to introduce my new baby to his relatives, but I was only just starting to get the hang of things as a new mum and, to make matters worse, I would be travelling without Mr G.

We made it back in one piece (barely!) thanks to my very carefully planned “Long-Haul Flight Survival Kit”…

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As Seb was drinking formula, my top priority was having enough milk for the duration of the journey.  I stumbled across the idea of using disposable bottles and the Vital Baby single-use sterile feeding bottles fit the bill perfectly.  Unlike other disposable bottles on the market, these ones come rolled-up and so are extremely compact.  It is a good idea to test one out on your baby before flying to make sure that they are happy drinking from a different shaped teat.
Vital Baby Disposable Bottle

Continuing with the theme of convenience, I bought cartons of ready-made formula to pour into the disposable bottles as and when I needed them.  I would highly recommend checking the hand luggage restrictions for each of the airports that you will be travelling through as they do vary from country to country.  There were no restrictions on the amount of baby milk I could carry at Sydney airport, but on the return flight Mr G had to taste 50% of the milk cartons that we were carrying.  In this situation you really need to have double the amount of milk you need for the entire journey as the opened cartons cannot be used unless they are refrigerated immediately.

As I was slightly paranoid about running out of milk cartons, I also packed 2 formula dispenser tubs with pre-measured portions of formula powder in separate compartments.  If I had used up all of the ready-made formula, I would just need to add powder to some pre-boiled cooled water in a disposable bottle.

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Another essential part of my hand luggage was a mini first aid kit.  The last thing you want when you are up in the air is to have a poorly baby, but it pays to be prepared for the worst.  I would never fly without a bottle of Baby Nurofen which is very quick acting and can reduce a high fever in 15 minutes.

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When Seb was very young I used a medicine dummy to administer Nurofen.  We have the 4Little1 Eezimed Medicine Dummy and it was much simpler than trying to use the applicator provided.

Medicine Dummy

I also packed a thermometer, some saline nasal drops in case Seb got a stuffy nose on the flight, and some Infacol Wind Drops to relieve trapped wind.

No survival flight kit would be complete without plenty of nappies, baby wipes and nappy bags.  I also had a fold-up change mat to put on the change table in the aeroplane toilet to make it a bit more comfortable for Seb.  I found this gorgeous Apple & Bee Organic Baby Change Mat in a cute owl design.

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At the time we travelled Seb was using a dummy and I found a very handy clip-on case for holding individual dummies.  I also took some Tommee Tippee soother and teat wipes which were fantastic for cleaning Seb’s dummies on the plane.

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A vital part of my survival kits was lots and lots of swaddles.  I am a huge fan of the Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddles as they have so many uses and come in such beautiful designs.  I use them as burp cloths, blankets and as a sun cover over the stroller.  Seb was quite a “sicky” baby so I always needed to cover myself with a swaddle when I fed him and it was no different on the plane…I think I got through 6 swaddles over the course of the flight!

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We were lucky enough to get a bassinet seat on the plane, albeit that it was only confirmed when we checked in for the flight, so I packed a soft jersey blanket to line the base of the bassinet and a thin wool blanket to cover Seb.  Up until 4 months of age, Seb was sleeping in the ‘Love to Swaddle UP‘ zip-up swaddles so I took 3 of them on the flight to allow for any nappy incidents that might occur.  I also had heaps of bibs for my messy drinker and I would put the wet bibs in nappy bags before putting them back in my hand luggage.  I had tried out some disposable bibs before the flight but was not convinced that they were suitable for a very young baby and decided they were more appropriate for older babies eating solids.

In terms of clothing, I packed several short-sleeved body suits and several long-sleeved sleep suits as I was not sure what the temperature would be like on the plane.  Seb was actually pretty warm throughout the flight and I kept him in short-sleeved body suits until we arrived in London when he needed something a bit more substantial!  I came across this great idea on Pinterest for packing children’s outfits in individual zip-lock bags and I think it would work brilliantly on a long-haul flight as you could replace the contents of the bag with dirty laundry whenever you changed baby’s outfit.  I am definitely going to try this on our next flight back to the UK.

travel bags

Some other essential items were:

Baby Bjorn – this meant I could have both hands free during check-in,boarding the plane and collecting our baggage.  I also figured that I could use it to walk Seb up and down the aisles if he was unsettled on the plane.

Clip-on Toy Arch – I attached this to the plane bassinet when Seb was awake and it kept him amused!

Small Baby Toys – I took a selection of small soft toys, rattles and fabric books to keep Seb entertained.

Insulated Bottle Bag – I used this to store bottles of milk that Seb had not finished as he tended to drink little and often during the flight.

Reusable Shopping Bags – I took a couple of Envirosax reusable bags to hold used swaddles, clothing and bibs.

Lightweight Stroller – I had originally planned on taking our Phil & Ted Explorer but we were worried about it getting damaged in transit and so opted to get a Maclaren Quest fold-up stroller for the journey.  I was able to take the Maclaren stroller all the way to the gate, whereas the Phil & Ted 3-wheeler stroller would have needed to be checked in as an oversized item.

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The flight home was certainly challenging and I got absolutely no sleep as I kept worrying that I would not hear Seb if he woke up in the bassinet.  I was really disappointed that the cabin crew were so unhelpful and they were not even willing to help me put my bags in the overhead locker, so I had to struggle to lift a small suitcase with Seb attached to me in the Baby Bjorn.  My first conversation with Mr G after the flight went something like “That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life….”, to which he replied “Harder than childbirth?!”.

Mr G joined us in the UK after 4 weeks and we all flew back to Sydney together.  The return flight was so much easier with Mr G to help and it meant I didn’t have to struggle with baggage, toilet trips and eating my in-flight meals.  But in saying that, I do believe that my solo trip gave me more confidence as a new mum and left me feeling slightly invincible, at least for a little while!