Bad Mum

Magazine

5 May 2017

Feature: Beauty and Wellness

Travelling With a Child While Remaining Calm and Looking Jet Set. 


Ha!  No, sorry that’s not actually possible.  There are, however, things you can do to avoid complete meltdown.  It’s not about perfect execution, but about striving for perfect execution.  If you aim high and come up short, at least you’ve got some things covered.  That’s my not-at-all-inspiring motto.   

So – I missed you last week while I was on holiday following my own travel advice to various degrees of success.  We went to Seville.  Beautiful.  But first, we got off to an inauspicious start as soon as we set foot in Seville’s airport when E, playing in the immigration queue, fell forwards - hands in pockets - and busted her top lip.  Screaming.  Blood.  And a collective ‘tut’ from the rest of the queue behind me. I swear.  At least we got through immigration faster?  My well planned, comfortable-yet-attractive travelling outfit to bring me from April in London to April in Seville was covered in blood, and I’m fairly certain our friend who picked us up was more than a little traumatised.  E was fine, mostly fascinated by her newly puffy upper lip.   So, this is more of a do as I say not as I do sort of piece.  I did have good intentions though, and these are the general rules I follow for stress free (read: limited stress) travelling: 

Plan Ahead

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  So says everyone, but what does this look like?  For me, pre and post baby, this has always meant first creating a packing list, then neatly and methodically packing everything the night before; even your toothbrush.  Yes, I know you’ll need it in the morning but it’s far better to pack it, use it and put it straight back than it is to forget to throw it into a bag the morning of. 

I tackle planning ahead this way: pack yours and the kid’s clothes by daily outfit, + one extra for the inevitable clusterfuck, and your toiletries by routine (a.m./p.m./hair/make-up).  I do a small toiletry bag for each of morning, night, and make-up.  Hair stuff gets thrown in the baggage with a prayer it doesn’t explode and toothpaste gets shunted onto husband because that always explodes – it’s one of the great mysteries of life.  


Prep your skin.  For reasons that will become clear below, use your heavier moisturizer the morning of your flight, and if you’re particularly cautious, putyour SPF on – you’re inside but UVA rays are strong up there, so if you’re by a window you might want to be covered.  If you can be arsed, reapply shortly before your flight (I usually cannot be arsed).  

Get all your paperwork in order the night before.  I’m a stuffed to bursting point old school Filofax user – passports, boarding passes – all that crap goes in there. 

Bring Snacks, Stay hydrated

Airplane food is barely edible and is almost designed to suck moisture out of you, bloat you with salt and refined sugar and make you even more irritable than you already are.  Options in airports are marginally better, but remember, it’s a low bar.  

Our go-to snacks are home made date balls of whatever variety you like.  I usually do cacao for the grown ups and apple + banana + oats for the kid.  Easy to whizz up in whatever sort of food processor or blender you have.  Then a little stock of fresh cut fruit, nuts, and crackers for bribery (sometimes apple slices just don’t cut it). 

Also LOADS OF WATER.  I am a nightmare for keeping myself hydrated.  I know it’s heavy but try to have 4-5 litres of water on you and ensure that you and/or your family finish as much of it as you can before getting to your hotel/Airbnb/mate’s sofa. 

Aircraft are offensively dry.  The WHO puts cabin humidity at around 20%, and this pilot reckons it’s more like 12% (to put that in context, comfortable humidity levels for humans are between 40% and 70%).  If water is life, being on an airplane sucks the life right out of you.  Drink water.  You’re welcome.

Dress Comfortably

United Airlines really missed the mark stopping couple of girls from boarding while wearing leggings, whatever their policy for those deemed to be ‘representing the airline’.  Air travel is no longer the glam, quite spacious, well-appointed and well-serviced experience it used to be (honestly, I’m fairly sceptical it was ever particularly enjoyable, though again, the bar has been set pretty low these days).  Leggings are totally legit travel wear, especially when paired with a well fitting t shirt, oversized jumper – preferably some sort of cashmere – and a nice big scarf to wrap around yourself so you don’t suffer from hypothermia as you are literally turned into a piece of breathing biltong from the lack of humidity. 

That said, consider where you are coming from and where you are going to; literally, not in an existential kind of way.  Par example: I was travelling from April in London (grim) to April in Seville (fucking hot).  I wore a sleeveless, black, soft jersey body-con dress with an oversized cropped sweatshirt over it, and a pair of Adidas slides.  My feet were a bit cold in London but it’s better than sweaty blisters in Seville.  I still haven’t gotten the blood out of that jumper. 

If You Don’t Have a Boob to Stick in Their Mouth and All of Those Snacks You Brought Are Gone, One of Those Sticker Books is A+

These can easily be picked up in the airport.  They are crap, disposable items but that’s the point.  As with anyone travelling by air, a kid just feels an uncontrollable desire to destroy shit.  Supervising adults have to hold back, but take some satisfaction in watching your little snowflake tear that sticker book apart.  If our experience is anything to go by, it’ll give you a good 45 minutes of relative peace.

Counter-intuitive, but Don’t Consume Alcohol (Yet)

For the love of all things holy, the only thing you want to do is dull the pain of flying Ryanair with 25 of Debbie’s bezzie mates on her hen-do.  I get it.  But, did I mention how drying aircraft cabins are?  I know I am a killjoy, but this is a wellness column after all: alcohol is not your friend.  Especially on airplanes.  Or in airports.  Or immediately post flight.  Alcohol will only exacerbate the dehydration.  Drink all that water you are lugging around with you, freshen up, THEN go have your well deserved cocktail.  Or tiny cold beer if you’re in Seville. 

Sheet Masks

Has anyone ever told you how drying aircraft cabins are?  Yes?  Well, then, in addition to drinking all the water you can carry, you’ll be pleased to know that some topical replenishment does help. Sheet masks are great for this.  If you’re flying first class on some fancy schmancy airline, you can wear your sheet mask in flight while sipping your champagne.  Fuck you too. For the rest of us plebs flying [insert shitty low cost carrier], it’s probably best to wait until you’re off the flight, properly relaxed (this can be done post imbibing) and about to turn in for the evening.  Dr. Jart makes a great cotton sheet mask called Water Replenishment, and I also love anything snail mucin related.  A NYC shop called oo 35mm has an eye wateringly comprehensive selection of sheet masks, and they deliver internationally.  No excuses.  For me this is a great step after a shower.  Put on a sheet mask and sit for 20 minutes in the glory of not physically being able to do anything else.  Follow with the rest of your impeccably packed night-time routine.

Congratulations.  You made it!  So even if it wasn’t an entirely stress free experience, you aimed high and got off that plane without committing any felonies; not to mention, your skin still looks great.

Written by Mallory from @the_parlour_hackney



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