Six skills you learn flying with children

Life, they say, is a learning experience. Flying with a baby or toddler certainly is.

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And while they might not be the most transferrable skills, here are six talents I’ve acquired travelling with my daughter.

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Bear picnics and Dalmatians at Packwood House, Warwickshire

It seems wrong to decide to visit somewhere simply because it’s in the right place to break a car journey with a toddler. But frankly if I’d spent hours pouring over maps and websites, I couldn’t have picked somewhere much better than Packwood House.

A National Trust property, it’s set in Warwickshire just outside Solihull. And like so many of England’s historic houses, it’s fabulous.

Even better, they’ve come up with some clever ideas to keep kids entertained too, so much so that the colouring and crafts on offer in the Family Den were abandoned for exploring the house and gardens.

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Reviewed: CoPilot Premium smartphone satnav app

I am faintly jealous of those people who have a natural sense of direction. I am not one of those people.

Left to my own devices, I will unerringly go the wrong way given a choice of two streets. I rotate maps so I can be sure both they and I are pointing in the same direction.

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Which way? Which way?

So I compensate. I print out maps, I study them closely, I pay attention to landmarks and street signs as much as possible, because without them I’ll get lost. Again. And with a toddler along for the ride, I don’t want to get lost at all, if I can avoid it. Continue reading

Surviving a car journey with a toddler

This weekend I drove around 500 miles. For me, that’s a lot, packing in a round trip to my parents house in Staffordshire (via a stop-off at Packwood House near Solihull) and another day trip to Halifax as well.

Thankfully, I timed as many as I could to fit with Minnie’s naps – and even better, she slept just when I hoped she would. Especially during the torrential bank holiday rain.

What do you mean, they haven't invented DVDs yet?

What do you mean, they haven’t invented DVDs yet?

But that still left quite a few hours of motorway with an easily bored two-year-old. And nursery rhymes aren’t cutting it for long distances any more. Continue reading

An unexpected bear hunt

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.

Well, if you go to the kitchen garden at Packwood House, near Solihull, you can certainly find teddy bears having a picnic.

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And Dalmatians. And yew avenues. And bee baskets. Full review to come…

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