Meet Lottie, our travelling nanny sleep specialist

At Vacation Nannies, we have professional and enthusiastic travelling nannies registered and all with a special skill or talent to share with the children they care for. Our nannies are usually sporty, art enthusiasts or travel addicts, but we have one nanny who has a skill every family wishes for from a nanny who is going to accompany them on their holiday, an early years sleep specialist! Meet Lottie, an early years consultant who specialises in 'sleep' and works as a holiday nanny.

Why did you choose to register with Vacation Nannies?

What first attracted me to register with ‘vacation nannies’ was due to the fact
that it would give me the flexibility to concentrate on my business ‘Lottie Hanes
Early Years Consultancy’ but still kept open the opportunity of working 1:1 with
children. This is important me as I have a love of working with children in the
early years. Charlotte’s agency was the perfect option for me as it also gave me
the chance to travel the world. As soon as I spoke to Charlotte on the phone I felt
that this was the perfect agency fit for me. It was highlighted that she really
wanted the best for her nannies and really cared about each placement she
organised.

How will your skill of being a 'sleep specialist' help travelling families? 

I believe that having a nanny abroad that specialises in ‘sleep’ is advantageous
for a family as it can be a tough transition for children whilst on holiday. Firstly,
sleeping in a new environment as well as the added excitement of the holiday
itself. Furthermore, jet lag can be a huge issue when travelling further a field.
Having a nanny that has the knowledge and skills to deal with this would make
the bedtime routine run smoothly enabling the parents to have the option to
enjoy a quiet evening childfree but having the confidence that everyone was
happy.

I have always wanted to do something specialised that would enable me to
support families in the community as being a parent is hard work although
immensely rewarding. Whilst working in a suburb in North Leeds as a nanny to
six bright and wonderful children it became clear that ‘sleep deprivation’ was on
many parents agendas. From this experience I wanted to be able to have the
skills to support these families. So I went on to train in this specific area to add to
my existing BA Early Childhood studies. However, I am constantly training to
enhance the skills I have and gain further knowledge.

If you had to choose your favourite holiday location, where would it be?

My ideal holiday location would be the sunshine. I am a sun worshiper!

Why do you love to travel? 

I love travelling because it allows me to learn about new cultures and try their
cuisine. I think traveling for children is an amazing opportunity to learn so much
and being a part of that as a nanny is fabulous.

 

Thank you Lottie for joining the Vacation Nannies team and we're looking forward to working together this summer.

To keep up to date with useful information related to early years, follow Lottie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lottiehanesconsultancy/

 


Supporting Oliver's Travels campaign for dedicated family lounges at UK airports.

The Easter holidays are well under way throughout the UK and about to start in Yorkshire, so I’m sure there’s going to be lots of families jetting off to sunnier, or snowier climates this weekend. What parents honestly enjoy the experience of being at an airport with young children? I have witnessed from travelling a lot as a nanny and for pleasure that it requires a lot of organising, patience and quite often bribery!

 

Oliver’s travels, a luxury villa holiday specialist, have shared their petition over on Linkedin and we are big supporters. After extensive research they have found that travelling families often feel they are poorly catered for at many UK airports. The luxury holiday specialists are hoping their campaign and research will make airports aware of how poorly parents and their children feel they are catered for and will encourage them to see that there is a market for designated family lounges that parents are willing to pay for.  After all, holidays start at the airport so why not make it as stress free and enjoyable as possible, for every member of the family.

 

As a well travelled holiday nanny I can confirm that many UK airports don’t cater well for families and better family friendly areas and paying family lounges would be hugely popular, especially at bigger airports. From my experience, the ‘first class’ lounges are not child friendly and the airports that do have child friendly play areas are often dated, germ ridden and don’t cater well for the parents. So I’m sure clean, interactive and comfy family lounges will be welcomed at all airports.

 

If you would like to read more about Oliver’s Travels campaign and sign this petition, please follow the link https://www.change.org/p/uk-airports-improve-the-facilities-available-for-families-at-airports-across-the-uk?recruiter=937676623&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

 


What is the best travel buggy to take on family holidays?

With the Easter holidays fast approaching, a popular topic of conversation amongst travelling families is always ; “Shall I bother taking the pushchair?”

As a holiday nanny, I have had the experience of travelling with a lot of families and can give you an honest answer. “Yes, absolutely!” Even if it only gets used at the airport, I would always recommend taking a travel buggy away with you, especially now with so many ‘z’ folding travel buggies available on the market.

Why should I take a travel buggy away with me?

  • It makes travelling with small children less stressful
  • No run away children!
  • Some adapt to car seats.
  • It will take up less room in your boot
  • Your child can nap anywhere
  • It will free up your hands when travelling
  • Cooler than having them in a carrier/sling
  • Some fit in the overhead locker
  • You can take longer walks when exploring a new city
  • Gives you the option of taking them out for a later dinner
  • Avoids your day-to-day buggy getting full of sand!
  • It can double up as a shopping trolley for much needed beverages!

Top tip:

If you are travelling to a ski resort, also pack a sling, or ask your chalet if they can arrange for an ‘all terrain’ buggy or child carrier to be hired or borrowed for the week. Travel pushchairs are a nightmare in a snowy ski resort! In resorts such as Avoriaz, ski shops also rent sledge buggies, making it easier (and fun) in the deep snow.

Travel buggy Review:

When choosing a travel buggy, budget, purpose and durability are some of the key factors to be considered. From personal use and research, I have compiled my top 4 travel buggies. If you have had the experience of using any of these, or have other recommendations, then I would love to hear from you.

Red Kite Push me cube stroller

  • Light weight
  • Easy to steer with a compact ‘z’ folding design
  • Can be stored overhead on a plane and easily in the boot
  • Great value for money, includes accessories such as a raincover, umbrella and carry bag
  • Suitable from birth as it lies flat, allowing baby to sleep safely. *May need some extra padding
  • Doesn't have an adapter for a car seat or rear facing option
  • Fabric and sun shade aren’t machine washable
  • Fabric doesn’t have accredited sun protection

For a second buggy I would recommend the Red Kite, for value for money. If you travel a lot, have a house with limited storage, or enjoy city breaks then I would definitely recommend this pushchair. The Babyzen might be the ‘super yacht’ of travel buggies, but it does come with a price tag!

Babyzen Yoyo+

  • Fantastic for high flying globetrotters!
  • Easy ‘z’ fold design
  • Fits down the plane aisle and stores in overhead locker
  • Unfolds one-handed, as well as steers
  • Washable fabric and SPF protected hood
  • Can be used from birth, but at the added cost of adding the newborn pack
  • Highly recommended by anyone who can afford the price!
  • Very streamline, small wheels and shopping basket

Mountain Buggy Nano

  • A well known durable brand
  • Lightweight ‘Z’ fold design
  • Great basket for shopping
  • Durable foam tyres
  • Compatible with most car seats, but you have to purchase the adapter kit
  • Suitable from birth, when adapted
  • Double check with airline if this buggy is allowed as hand luggage
  • The mountain buggy has an innovative range of accessories, including winter ski adapters!
  • Cheaper than the Babyzen, but expensive accessories.

 

Silver Cross Zest Pushchair

  • Classic travel buggy folding system, if you don’t want to take the buggy on board.
  • Suitable from birth with full lie back option
  • Roomy seat
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Extendable hood with UPF50 sun protection
  • Inclusive rain cover
  • Long standing pushchair manufacturer!

 


Top tips for flying with kids

The second wave of half term hits the airports this weekend, who is dreading the flight with their little ones? Charlotte Clay, the founder of Vacation Nannies and experienced in-flight nanny has put together some top tips to help you prepare for your journey.

There’s no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to flying with kids!

I have travelled internationally as a holiday nanny and will confirm that you can never be over prepared for a flight. Whether short haul or long haul, being organised and prepared for every eventuality pays off! Firstly, the choice of bag! Keep your hands free by using a backpack rather than a shoulder bag or pull along. This makes it easier at passport control and pushing the buggy etc.

  • What’s inside the bag?

I would recommend packing more than enough nappies/pull ups, just in case your baby decides to have an unexpected ‘poonarmi’ or to avoid the panic of your older child having an accident on board whilst the seat belt sign in on!

Wet wipes, as we all know wet wipes are a saviour! Depending on how many children you have, pack at least one full pack. Not only are they handy for freshening up, they are also useful for wiping down surfaces and spillages, etc.

Plane food is pretty revolting, so pack a bag full of snacks and food incase they don’t like their meal, you don’t want a hungry child on the plane! Depending on your snack rules, which I find are often broken on travel days, a top tip for avoiding ear pressure would be to let your child have a lollipop,  this will help to avoid any earache on take off and landing and also a good way of bribing them into sitting in their own seat. I’ve also travelled with parents who sometimes hide their child’s favourite treat, which they have chosen, in their bag! After all, happy children equals happy flyers!

As well as snacks, children need in flight entertainment. Small (quiet) toys, puppets, books etc are great for babies. For older children colouring books, sticker books, magnetic snakes and ladders and good old fashioned games such as eye spy are my favourites. It’s also a nice idea for the kids to have had some pocket money to buy themselves a new sticker book for the journey, that way it’s nice and exciting for them. However, we all know how well a screen works, so make sure the tablet (and portable charger) has lots of favourites downloaded and the headphones are to hand.

I’m going to pass on a great tip from a Mum I travelled to the Caribbean with, I was the nanny for her four girls, ages 13 months to 7! All full changes of clothes were neatly folded into large resealable food bags, which acted as vacuum packs. These slim line bags were named and neatly ‘filed’ into the bag making them easily accessible and flat. For babies, I would pack more than enough baby grows and cardigans, making sure they are clean, comfy and warm/cool enough.

If your child has been feeling unwell, make sure all medication such as Calpol, ear drops and any inhalers etc are to hand. Also, flight attendants are highly experienced with dealing with unwell passengers, so make them aware if you are worried about the health of your child. I recently flew to Thailand with Emirates and they were immediately on hand when a child fell ill.

  • Minimise kids hand luggage

Depending on the ages of the children, I was once advised by a well travelled Dad to minimise the kids hand luggage. Yes, it’s great to let children pack an exciting plane bag, but when you have 4 children, you could be at risk of them packing all sorts and you ending up carrying it! Keep it simple by packing one backpack with all the kids entertainment in. 

  • Make sure you are check in early

Make sure you have checked in online and printed off the boarding passes to make it easier when you arrive at the airport. It seems that the only way of sitting together these days, is by pre booking, so make sure you check your airline. If you are flying as a family allow plenty of time for traffic, emergency toilet stops, nappy changes, toddler meltdowns.. You name it and I’ve probably witnessed it! There is nothing worse than any additional stress on travel day. 

  • Take a break on long haul

You might be desperate to get to your final destination, but 11 hours on a flight with kids could quite possibly send you and fellow passengers crazy! Stopping for a few hours makes a good opportunity for the you to stretch your legs and the kids to make use of the play area and burning off some energy. The flights are also often cheaper when you stop on route.

  • Look after yourselves

Travelling with children can be stressful, so please also make time for yourself  by trying to get a good nights sleep, staying hydrated and making sure you also have some good in-flight entertainment.

  • Do you think you might need help?

If the idea of travelling with your child or baby is too stressful, we have specialist nannies who are highly experienced travellers. They can either accompany you for the duration of your holiday, or be hired as your in-flight nanny.  Please email Charlotte for more information on this tailor made package.

 


Top tips to help you prepare your kids for ski school

It’s almost half term and the pre ski holiday panic has set in. What do the kids need for ski school?

Ski school with kids can be stressful. From dressing them to finding them after, the key is making sure you have done your research and the kids are dressed appropriately.

Top tips to help you and your kids prepare for ski school.

  • It’s all about layers.

Make sure your children are wearing good thermal layers. I would recommend a vest, long sleeve thermal top and thermal trousers all tucked in; so they don’t get chilly and a fleece as a mid layer. Rugby skins make a great thermal layer, or Mountain Warehouse have a good quality and affordable range.

  • Accessorise!

All kids have to wear helmets, so rather than a wooly hat I would recommend a long snood or balaclava when it’s cold. Buff have a great range. These can be nicely layered under the helmet and tuck down into their collar, keeping their neck and chin nice and warm. There’s nothing worse then chin freeze! Waterproof gloves are a must. If you have money to spend, Barts do a great range of novelty gloves.. This could be a good way of making sure they stay on! In very cold weather gloves liners will help keep their hands warm.

  • Looking good on the slopes!

Dinoski wear are bringing another level of cute to the mountain this season with their ‘roarsome’ winter wear for kids. These all-in-one suits are perfect as there is no chance of any snow getting down the waistline. Keeping your kids toasty warm on the mountain all day long. The ears and bright colours will also make them easy to spot at ski school collection, which is super helpful at half term!

  • Ski boots!

I’m not going to lie, ski boots and children can be a nightmare! Here’s a top top tip: Start with good quality ski socks pulled up so it’s nice and smooth, thermal layer bottoms pulled up; so it’s not inside the ski boot. Ski boots can be hard to get on, I find it’s easiest to un fasten all the clips (so the boot is nice and loose) pull the tongue up (to widen the top) and ask your child to slide their foot into the boot, whilst you hold onto the tongue, and stamp. As easy as that?!

  • Don’t forget a snack!

Skiing is hungry work, so I would recommend popping a little sweet snack in your child’s pocket for their snack break. It’s also a good idea to have one on hand for the ski school pick up, when they are tired and in need of a quick sugar fix!

  • Tissues and a lip balm in their pocket

It can get really cold on the hill and a runny nose isn’t very nice. I would put a small pack of tissues and lip balm in their pocket, so they don’t get a sore nose and chapped lips.

  • Childcare emergency.

In the unlikely event your child gets lost, or ski school need to phone you in an emergency. I would recommend putting a contact card in their pocket; with your number and your chalet and any childcare details.

  • Ski School

Depending on which resort you choose to visit, there are many English speaking schools to choose from. In Morzine there’s a large range including Billski and Avoriaz Alpine Ski school. Both run by Brits and excellent with children. Most larger chains also have English speaking ski instructors, so it’s always worth researching which will be the most suitable for your child.

Think you might need a nanny to help you? Please contact Charlotte 


How to have a stress-free ski holiday with kids

I’m not going to lie, family ski holidays can be stressful, expensive and you will no doubt wonder what on earth you are doing as you are trying to carry all the children’s gear, and them, trying to find the ski school!

However, you can avoid these stressful situations by researching family friendly ski resorts and find a chalet company who will have everything covered. Ski resorts such as Morzine are keen to welcome children of all ages to the slopes and have a fantastic range of English speaking ski schools and catered chalet companies for you to choose from.

Chalet companies such as AliKats, a multi award winning chalet company set in the scenic area of Montriond, organise everything from the airport transfer to ski hire and a private chauffeur to and from the slopes. For ultimate relaxation, they can also organise a masseuse to come to the chalet. Not only do Al and Kat make sure you have a fantastic holiday, they also make sure you never go hungry! The hosts cook up fabulous hot breakfasts to get you piste ready and at the end of the day you always walk into an Alikats chalet smelling the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen.

Kat, the co-owner and head chef, takes great pleasure in planning delicious meals using ingredients that are locally sourced, free range and seasonal for you to enjoy. We have sampled some of Kat’s dishes and can confirm, the food really is ‘ridiculously good’!

So, I know what you’re thinking. How can we relax and enjoy all of this whilst on a family holiday? You have a number of options, there are creches, private nanny companies or you can hire a Vacation Nanny to accompany you on your holiday. Helping on transfer days and be the in-house babysitter. How very decadent!

This option may sound very personal, but in a shared catered chalet this option can work brilliantly and help take the stress away. A ski holiday as a family is a place where fantastic memories are made and an activity you can share together in years to come.

Suggested ski schools:
Billski
Avoriaz Alpine Ski School 

Chalet mention:
Alikats


Why should I hire a holiday nanny for our next family vacation?

Before I started working as a holiday nanny I thought it was quite a strange concept, taking somebody away with you, to help you look after your own children, on possibly the only big family holiday of the year? It seems a bit unnecessary, yes? So why would you need a holiday nanny?

Let me tell you why hiring a holiday nanny might just be the best thing you have ever done, and you might never be able to holiday without one again!

Whilst family holidays are something to treasure and make treasured memories from, there are many aspects that can be found quite stressful, especially when there is more than one child involved. Starting at the airport; dealing with the luggage whilst trying to make sure one child doesn’t run off, juggling the baby whilst you’re sorting out your hand luggage, waiting for your transfer in a sweaty unconditioned airport whilst one of them is having a tantrum. That is to name just a few of the many hurdles you have to deal with and you haven’t even arrived at your holiday destination yet, never mind the extra pair of eyes you could always do with by the villa pool.

Holiday Nannies can be worth their weight in gold. They let you have those lie-ins you’ve been dreaming about, lazy days by the pool, and enjoyable outings together, without any of the attendant whining. All of these reasons are why hiring a holiday nanny is a great idea.

Having a holiday nanny helps you take away the worries and stresses that might come with traveling with young children. You won’t need to find a local babysitter or worry about the children enjoying Kids Club. You’ll have someone to help you with meal times and the dreaded suncream application, not to mention witching hour. With a nanny at your disposal, you can be as flexible as you like with the comfort of knowing you have an experienced, professional nanny helping you look after your children in the comfort of your holiday home or villa.

A holiday nanny is different to an everyday nanny, she is there to be your child’s play-mate and your right-hand help. There are lots of different packages of care available, the nanny can work during the day to help you entertain the children, or she can just be there for the early mornings and late afternoons and evening help. Holiday nannies are there to offer flexible care on your holiday, helping to make sure it really is an enjoyable one.

If you would like to find out more information about booking a holiday nanny for your next family trip, why don’t you get in touch with Vacation Nannies? Helping families find their perfect holiday nanny.


Morzine, why is it so good for families?

Over the years, Morzine is becoming the number one favourite resort for families in the Alps. Not only is the resort beautiful in the summer and winter months; there’s also something to offer for every family member.

Morzine boasts having a huge playground for adults and children. Skiing, sledging, mountain biking, hiking; the list of family fun activities are never-ending. And with the airport transfer time being only 1hr 15 minutes, it’s even more appealing for young families. I remember four-hour transfers to resorts as a child. I’m not sure how my parents coped or carried on taking us on ski holidays!!

As more and more people are visiting Morzine and finding it hard to leave, the British community is ever growing. This has resulted in a great network of British companies offering ski school, transfers and childcare services. Making it much easier for English speaking families to organise their trip hassle-free.

If you find your ski time is limited to ski school hours, why not think about hiring a ski nanny? Vacation Nannies will not only provide you with a private ski nanny, they will also be your in-house nanny for the whole duration of the trip. They will have been hired via our agency, you will have had the choice to meet them for an interview, and they will start off the booking by accompanying you and your family on the journey from the UK.

Once you have arrived at the resort, and depending on the childcare package you have chosen, they will be available for daytime and evening babysitting, whilst you enjoy what a ski holiday has to offer.