September family travel essentials – the round-up

I love autumn. Crispy crunchy leaves in every shade of gold, russet and crimson scattered on the ground, squirrels scampering through the drifts burying conkers galore. Snuggly scarves and comfy clumpy boots, but enough September sunshine to take the worst of the chill off.

A girl in sunhat lies on a vintage style suitcase, flowers blooming in the background - my family travel essentials for the month

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Even better is a sneaky sunny escape somewhere to top up the Vitamin D and summery contentment levels before winter arrives in all its frosty glory – which I managed to squeeze in earlier this month, with a few days in Corsica. The kind of short break which seems to last much longer than the calendar suggests and whets your appetite for a much longer stay: check out my Instagram or scroll down for a few photos to give you a taste of the island.

Here’s a look back at what else we’ve been up to, along with the usual round-up of essential family travel products purchased or sent for review this month.

Autumn family travel essentials

The chilly mornings mean I’ve been rummaging in piles of clothes I haven’t worn for months, gleefully rediscovering favourite jumpers and warmer tops. Meanwhile, in Minnie’s chest of drawers, we’ve discovered her wrists, ankles and tummy are now poking out of an awful lot of her clothes.

Cue an autumnal spending spree, in time for a few more days out this autumn – turning to my stalwart favourites for kids’ clothes. A sparkle ecru top from Next, featuring a sequinned narhwal, plus a set of rainbow unicorn tights. And from M&S, this moon top with added sparkle and frills. Plus, a spree at Mini Boden during one of their sales – the rainbow fun leggings are still discounted, as are the rabbit applique and navy unicorn leggings.

Collage with Dune Pamina boots, Next top and rainbow unicorn tights, Mini Boden rabbit applique leggings - some of my autumn family travel essentials for this month

Happily the Sherpa anorak we bought last year – I think we’ve had one per year since we she was about two – should see us through this winter too, as she never quite grew into it by Spring.

Which means I could treat myself to some boots. After hurting my foot at the beginning of September (possible plantar fasciitis, possibly bursitis, possibly both of them… still waiting for my doctor’s appointment), I have been all about the padded and supportive insoles, living in my FitFlops as long as the weather held and flat boots after that.

So after much dithering, I found these Dune Pamina boots – I’m a sucker for buckles on my boots. On their own, I’ve got to say they’re not the comfiest I’ve ever owned, but these Scholl gel insoles make a big difference.

Best of the rest

  • I can’t remember the last time I had a spare 10 minutes to browse in Duty Free (or at least without a small person getting bored/picking up all the things) – so with a decent discount on Clinique Chubby Sticks (I love drawing my make-up on with a crayon!) and an unexpected freebie with some travel sized testers, I boarded my Corsica flight with two new lip colours and a smug grin.
  • While that trip was work, with no time to sit around reading books, I did also make the most of our farewell summer weekend in West Sussex and speed read my way through crime thriller Ruin Beach – set in the beautiful Isles of Scilly, it’s the follow up to Hell Bay which I also loved. And once again, transported me right back to those magical islands. Just have to wait until next June for the third book, Burnt Island.
  • I’m also planning ahead for my next trip at half-term – to Corfu! – by pre-ordering Tombland, the latest in the Shardlake historical crime series, hoping I’ll have chance to lie back in the sun and read that too. If you’re not a fan of historical fiction (an acquired taste, I know), I’d still hugely recommend these: some have been so gripping that I’ve read into the early hours to find out the next twist.

Autumn family travel: essential plans and reading

A less hectic string of trips after our attempts to see as much of the UK as possible over the summer – but we did fit in one last chilled out weekend away by the seaside. Two years ago, before Minnie started school, we headed to East Sussex for some lazy days exploring and building sand castles.

This time, it was the turn of West Sussex where we explored Littlehampton, Worthing and Bognor Regis, ate ice cream, scoffed fish and chips and the sun shone once again, letting my six-year-old splash gleefully in the waves in her new Zoggs swimming cossie. And a bit more sandcastle building, of course.

Then my own escape to Corisca – I’ve visited much of France over the years, from family holidays to my time at university studying French (and since) but I’ve never made it to the island before, much as I’ve wanted to. Well, more fool me.

Ruled by Genoa for centuries, there’s plenty of Italian influence along with the French – in fact, the Corsicans we met tend to refer to ‘the French’ as if they’re a completely separate country. Perhaps because that’s pretty much how they see it.

What you get is old ports crammed with yachts, watchtowers dotted along the rugged coast and citadels looming high above the cities, endless restaurants along the waterfront and the calm waters of the Mediterranan, gleaming turquoise in places, twisting mountain roads and rivers rushing through deep gorges in the mountains. And that was just in a few days, starting in Bastia and travelling to Calvi, with a spectacular three-hour scenic train ride.

I was happy to discover my French hasn’t deserted me – although many people will speak English, this isn’t somewhere with mass tourism (hurrah!) and with more Italian and German tourists than Brits, a little French goes a long way.

Then only a few weeks to go before my next dose (hopefully!) of sun, with our stay at the new Ikos Dassia in Corfu. I’ve heard great things about the sister resorts on the Greek mainland, and Corfu is one island I’ve never visited, so I can’t wait for a bit of all-inclusive luxury. There are also packages available through companies like TUI. With an early morning start from Luton Airport, I’ve booked an overnight stay and parking to help make the alarm call for our flight slightly less alarming.

I’m not the only one thinking about sun either, it seems. My top post this month has been about visiting Cape Verde with kids – even in December, the average temperature is 25C. Bliss. And if winter sun isn’t on your list, Porto with kids is also tempting more than a few people: if that includes you, I hope you have more luck with autumn sun than our spring downpours!

Or there’s always Helsinki. I’ve been remembering our visit to the Finnish capital earlier this year, with a string of new posts – 29 things to do in Helsinki with kids, ways to cut the costs with the Helsinki card and my top reasons why you would want to visit Helsinki, including fascinating Suomenlinna island.

Let me know where’s next in your travel plans?

Autumn family travel: essential deals

If the start of autumn has left you feeling that you need cheering up a bit, I’ve hunted out a few discounts to raise a smile – plus there are still a few days left to win a map with the Future Mapping company.

Relive a few family holiday memories with Bonusprint. There are a couple of offers running at the moment, including 30% off using code CCAFF30, but if you wait until October 2, watch out for the new 50% off deal with code AFF50DSC. Click here and start plotting your photobooks, prints or my favourite holiday souvenir, a photo mug.

And Vertbaudet has its mid season sale starting on Wednesday too (as well as 25% off full price items + Free delivery now if you use code 8044 – click here).


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links* – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a few pennies in commission. All products are those I have bought or recommend myself. My trip to Corsica was on a press trip with Corsican Places as part of my day job, with no obligation to share (but it was too good not to). Part of my stay at Ikos Dassia will be courtesy of the resort for the purposes of review, but I’m paying for the rest as well as airport parking and hotel. All opinions and constant craving for sunshine are my own.

Main image courtesy of Pixabay. Product images courtesy of the retailer. All others copyright MummyTravels.