This post lists a few items used during our trip to Malta and our long weekend to the Isle of Wight in April, and my opinion of their usefulness and functionality.
Samsonite Pop-Up Travel Cot
Knowing that I am somewhat incapable of travelling light, I didn't want a cot that added another 7kg or so to my luggage. This cot is a pop-up cot (you just need to push 4 rods into the seams, very easily) and the entire thing, in it's bag, weighs just 2.17kg.
It's a nifty little thing, and takes up far less space than the traditional travel cot. However it is at ground level, so you may want to keep that in mind if you have back problems.
The mattress is included but is in my opinion too thin. What we did was fold a blanket underneath it for extra padding and Emily happily slept in it for over a week in Malta. There is an inflatable mattress you can buy but it is expensive and adds weight and I have not read a single good review, so I opted out!
As for the cot itself however, I highly recommend it. It comes in 4 colours: Cafe Creme, Lemon&Lime, Aubergine, and Baby Pink. Insect nets are in-built and the cot is basically a little insect-proof bubble, thanks to the zipped "door" on the front.
Oasis Disposable Sterilizer Bags
It is things like these that make me thankful I am no longer sterilising bottles. Don't get me wrong, they're very handy bags to have when going on holiday. They're made of tough plastic with a drawstring and a sterilising tablet ready inside the bags. All you need to do is add water and bottles/dummies and they are sterilised in 30 minutes. What's even better is that you can keep using the same bag for 24 hours, then just start a new one.
However, needless to say, when full of water, the bag is HEAVY. There is no way I'd happily hang it off a door handle as it suggests. Also, being a plastic bag and therefore not solid, makes the whole thing involve a bit more faff. Water can splash out easily and you can't expect more than a couple bottles to fit into the bag at the same time (although I do use Dr Brown's bottles which are larger than most).
Having said all that, there really is no easier alternative. It's certainly lighter than carrying a steriliser (steam or cold) about with you. They work - and they work well - but just be ready to need some patience when using these bags!
[While I'm at it - should anyone be interested in buying these, I'm selling some here.]
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym
This isn't really specifically a travel mat, but while we were away, we wanted to have something for Emily as entertainment (other than just random toys). She loves lying on her playmat but there was no way we could take our Rainforest one (which is also brilliant and she loves the lights on that one!). A friend had bought this Infantino mat for her son and when I saw how easily it folded up, and how much Emily enjoyed it, we got this as a second playmat and then also took it with us to Malta.
Sure, it still took up a lot of space in her suitcase, but the point is it DID fit in the suitcase, along with everything else I needed to take along for her. I would recommend it as a travel mat, as well as a space-efficient option! It's so easy to hide away when not in use, and then so easy to open up again - even with just one hand.
The downside is that the toys aren't very interactive but you can always add some more to the spare loops. However, even with this in mind, Emily really loves the toys that came with the mat. I guess the detailed patterns on the materials used intrigue her. It's also very pretty to look at :-)
Mothercare Spin Travel System (further review)
I've already reviewed the Spin and had some very good things to say about it. I do not retract any of the comments I have previously made.
When it comes to travelling, Travel Systems are not ideal. Especially if, as in the case of the Spin (and most other travel systems around, admittedly), the chassis and the seat come apart in order to fold the pushchair down. Airlines will (perhaps somewhat begrudgingly) provide you with two tags to attach to the separate parts of the pushchair, however it is always going to be easier, come time to fold it up FAST with a queue of people waiting behind you, if the pushchair simply folds into one compact thing to be handed over to luggage handlers.
Instead, you have two rather bulky items. Luggage handlers always assume pushchairs come in one piece, it seems (we were made to wait while they looked for the second part of ours on the plane upon our return).
Also consider public transport when travelling. Are you going to need to collapse the pushchair when getting onto buses/metro/etc? How easy is it going to be? In the case of the Spin, near impossible.
Another negative point to the Spin that has come to light recently is that, in pushchair mode, the seat reclines fully but does not sit entirely upright. Emily is a very alert baby, loves sitting straight up, but is unable to in the Spin and gets very frustrated - pushing against the harness in protest! - as a result of this.
We have since purchased a more compact stroller, review will eventually follow!
This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.