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Rae Duke's Holiday Essentials Review

As Rae, Oscar and Rory were planning a holiday, we packed them off with a few essentials.

By Rae Duke

Our new Parent Approved Panel is up and running and our first batch or reviews are in. Rae, Oscar and baby Rory were planning a trip away, so we made sure they were packed up with all the essentials they need for a cosy, stress-free getaway.

Last week, Oscar, Rory and I embarked on our first UK family holiday - a real milestone. Our Cornish break had been in the diary since Rory was born (14 weeks ago) and I’d been looking forward to it with great expectation! Rory had already attended 4 weddings - the first when she was just 3 weeks old – so she was not new to travelling the length and breadth of the country, (thankfully the motorway and my in-car karaoke sessions seem to lull her to sleep) but this was to be our first time just the three of us, no clutch bags or canapés on the horizon and at a slightly later stage when we were very much into our groove as new parents. Happy days!

On becoming an ambassador for Mamas & Papas, I’d let the lovely team know that we had this holiday booked and they very kindly sent us a few key essentials to help our time away go without a hitch.

Now, I don’t think I can sing the praises of the Lion Wedge Playmat enough. It’s become a daily saviour in our house and I can’t imagine life without it! Honestly. A playmat with a difference; this M&P beauty has a supportive cushioned wedge for baby’s head, it features lots of different textures and colours and – its pièce de résistance is the hanging mirror which allows babies to while away the minutes cooing away to their reflection. (N.B. up until around 6 months babies think their reflection is another baby so this is a social, rather than super narcissistic response!)  There are four other hanging toys – all of which can be reached out for by small hands or removed should you wish. The mat can be used in three different ways; so in addition to Rory lying on her back and playing with the various delights above her head, I can roll her over to her front for that all important tummy time (having the wedge there makes this much more comfortable of course.)

Once Rory is a bit older and can sit up unaided I’ll unclip the two bendy poles that make up the arches and she’ll be able to take pride of place on the mat, sitting to enjoy the different sounds and textures on offer at its bottom end. (See my video to hear more on this!) 1 mat, 3 different functions – perfect.

It was World Cup season whilst we were away and the Lion Wedge Playmat, single handedly, enabled us to watch the entire first half of the semi-final without even a peep from Rory - too entranced by the mirror to care for penalties. Lions seemed to be the theme of the moment; with this play mat featuring so heavily and “Three Lions On A Shirt” whirring round our heads.

Now if like me, you’re a little OCD about unpacking the moment you arrive anywhere (and this works the other way round; ploughing straight on with unloading cases into the washing machine or back onto hangers the minute you get home) then be sure to leave this play mat in an easy to grab spot to put up as soon as you get to your destination for uninterrupted ‘sorting out’ time. (Mum hack right there.)

Mamas & Papas not only considered Rory’s playing needs but also her sleeping location. They sent us their Classic Travel Cot in plum and grey to try out away from home. I’d been a little apprehensive about Rory using a travel cot as so far, she’s only ever slept in her next-to-me crib and been at eye level with me.  I needn’t have worried, as she took to it no problem at all. We did use our sleepyhead in it though so that provided a sense of the familiar. right there.)

The cot was super easy to put up and collapse back down again so it would work well for shorter trips too. In terms of packing away and storing it also gets full marks from me as it fits snugly back inside its plum coloured bag ready to be whipped out again for your baby’s next sleepover.

Rory very much looked the part on our trip, donning her Mamas & Papas pink, frilled swimming costume (UV 50+) for a dip in the paddling pool and, upon getting out, being wrapped up in a snuggly, hooded towel cover up. I can see this becoming a regular fixture of beach and pool trips going forward (in larger sizes obviously) as the towel dries, warms and protects from the sun, whilst being on hand to mop up any melting ice cream incidents.

The reversible tropical print hat provided the finishing touch – or should I say touches, with its pink or patterned design options. The edges of the hat provided just the right amount of neck and face protection for Rory whilst she enjoyed a walk over the sand dunes in her baby carrier. I’ll also be getting lots of use from it now we’re back home, as this heat wave shows no signs of abating.

Long live the summer! 

We're very jealous of their lovely Cornish getaway but it's good to see that they felt prepared for every eventuality. From chilling in the sun to keeping occupied during down time, baby Rory was having a great time! And with a snug travel cot, it allowed Rae and Oscar to enjoy some uninterrupted downtime at night.

Follow the links if you want to learn more about our Classic Travel Cot, our Lion Wedge Playmat, or shop of our summer styles.

Rae Duke

Broadcaster Rae Duke has lots of excellent advice for parents as well as bags of personality. She's a perfect fit for our Parent Approved Panel, recording her parenting journey alongside husband Oscar and baby Rory.

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