Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

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We all could do with a good break, but holidaying with little ones can be a challenge in itself. So, if the thought of some time away with a toddler is leaving you stressed, our columnist Grace Victory is here to share some first-hand tips and relatable advice to help you enjoy making some magical memories together

Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

Ah, the sheer joy (and chaos) of going on holiday with your toddler. As a family, we just got back from our first sunny holiday to Turkey and, after not travelling for two years, it was bloody wonderful to put our toes in the sea, eat Lays with a Fanta on the balcony, and chase our little boy around a pool all day, because he’s a lightning-speed crawler!

Going on holiday with children is a completely different experience, and one that you have to embrace and surrender to. You won’t necessarily be able to sit on a lounger reading for hours, but making memories and showing them little corners of the world makes everything worthwhile.

Our trip was… intense! When people say “going on holiday is just parenting while being hot”, they are absolutely right. My partner and I had to tag-team mealtimes, de-escalate mini meltdowns in front of other holiday-goers, and, yes, there were moments we felt embarrassed and as if everyone must think we’re bad parents. Truth be told though, Cyprus found his voice on our holiday, and wanted to use it to shout at every opportunity – but that’s just kids, and while it can be hard when you feel like you can’t control a situation, it is absolutely normal for children to test your boundaries, even when you’re in paradise.

So, what I’m trying to say is going abroad with your little ones in tow is hard, but there are ways to manage, things I recommend for the plane, and little tips and tricks we did to minimise stress.

Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

On the plane

Take lots of games and things to keep your kids entertained. Reusable sticker books, suction toys to stick on the window, their most loved book, and a tablet to watch their favourite shows (remember to download episodes at home so they can watch without WiFi).

I also recommend snacks upon snacks upon snacks. When you think you’ve packed enough snacks, pack more. I opted for crisps, cut up pieces of fruit, and then some trusty Ella’s Kitchen pouches. And we fed our little boy a proper meal before the flight to make sure he was full enough for the four hours we were in the air.

Use packing cubes for your hand luggage to separate changing stuff, feeding stuff, important documents etc., so you have easy access to things! Don’t forget to pack spare outfits for both your kids and you in case any accidents occur. There is nothing worse than being covered in sick, and you haven’t packed a fresh pair of leggings.

On holiday

It goes without saying that children shouldn’t be in the sun for long periods of time, so taking a UV pop-up tent with you is a great idea! You can

5 science-backed tips to boost your endorphins

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Lift your mood with these proven positive pointers

5 science-backed tips to boost your endorphins

A group of hormones that have a number of physiological functions, endorphins are responsible for triggering positive feelings in the body, as well as being the body’s natural painkillers.

There are many ways that we can trigger the release of endorphins, and we’ve rounded up five science-backed tips:


When we laugh, we take in a load of oxygen-rich air, which stimulates our hearts, lungs, and muscles, and, in turn, triggers the release of endorphins into the body. So, this is your sign to put on a comedy, or spend some time with that person who tickles your funny bone. But remember, our brain can’t tell the difference between fake and real laughter, which is why ‘laughter yoga’ is a popular option. Head to for free sessions.

Spicy food

Rationally, we shouldn’t really enjoy eating spicy food, should we? The burning sensation isn’t objectively pleasant, but scientists think they understand why we persevere, and it’s all to do with endorphins. Scientists believe that, when we eat spicy food, our body is fooled into thinking that we are hurting ourselves. Cue the endorphins.


During sex, the pituitury glad is activated, leading to the release of endorphins, as well as fellow hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which come together to reduce pain, and boost intimacy and bonding. What’s more, several areas of the brain that are responsible for pain are also active during orgasm. Why? We’re not quite sure, but the endorphin effect can help to explain why some sexual activities that might not be so appealing usually – such as hair-pulling and bites – have a whole different effect during sex.


Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese practice where the therapist inserts fine needles into the skin at certain points on the body (called ‘acupoints’). Acupuncture is often said to help with pain relief and relaxation, and can you guess which brain chemical is involved with that feeling? You got it, endorphins. Most studies into the long-lasting effect of acupuncture have been relatively small, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommends it for specific complaints – but it is sometimes available on the NHS.


Most forms of exercise are a reliable way to boost your endorphin levels, but there’s something special about dancing. In a study, researchers from the University of York and Sheffield had participants choose to either sit and listen to music, exercise on a stationary bike, or dance for five minutes. What they found was that dance releases more endorphins than typical aerobic movement – plus, it also comes with a whole host of other emotional releases that other forms of exercise don’t. Is it time to turn up the tunes?

Friday Faves

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Helloooooo! Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? The kids are wrapping up their first half week of school and actually missing today because we’re off to San Diego! It’s Max’s Bar Mitzvah tomorrow (Betsy’s son! He’s like our lil nephew) so we couldn’t miss it. I’m so so excited to see them and enjoy a short weekend at one of our favorite spots. I hope you have a happy and fun weekend ahead!

Obligatory first day of school pic:

Also wanted to note here that I wrote, “To have a great year!” for their wish for the year, but they actually said, “For school to be over!” and “For school to be canceled” so there ya go.

I’ve been definitely looking forward to more of a routine around here (especially some block hours to get work stuff done!) but I really miss my little crew. We had the best summer together and it’s way too quiet without them here in the morning. I’m glad they’re having fun with their friends and seeing their amazing teachers again, but back to school season is always a little bittersweet.

Some exciting news on a personal level: I get to sing again! This is a bit random (I mean, what isn’t random about my life?) but I sing soprano with a local choir and our season was canceled in spring 2020 and all of last year. We’re finally having a season this year and I’m SO PUMPED ABOUT IT.

I was a bit nervous because we have a new director and he wanted to meet each of us individually before returning. It wasn’t a formal audition, but definitely felt like an audition, so I had a handful of vocal lessons with my coach to get back into things. I had to sing a bit of Beethoven’s 9th and ended up keeping my spot, so that’s a win. Choir was one of the things that really brought joy into my week and it felt like pure luxury to enjoy a hobby so much. I’m really thankful to have it back in my life after a long hiatus. If any Tucson friends want the info for some classical concerts coming up, I’d be happy to send the info along!

It’s time for the weekly Friday Faves party! This is where I share some of my favorite finds from the week and around the web. I always love to hear about your faves, too, so please shout out something you’re loving in the comments section below!

Friday Faves

Read, watch, listen:

Loved watching this home tour from Katy Bowman. Ready for the Pilot to raise his eyebrows when I say we should replace our seats with logs.

Definitely catch this guest post from the Pilot if you missed it!! I’m so so happy it was helpful for so many of you. Thank you for those who took the time to comment and send me a DM. I told the Pilot he’s taking over the blog loll. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section of his post and he’ll respond to your questions this weekend!

What are your daily rituals?

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

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The new titles in the classic series focus on emotional wellbeing, getting the conversation started early, and helping the next generation to flourish

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

The Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves have been staples in the lives of children for generations, and their colourful pages have made their way onto many a childhood bookshelf.

But, now, a new Mr. Men Little Miss series is launching, and 10 books that focus on exploring emotional wellbeing are hitting the shelves. The Discover You series has been created to help kids address their emotions, and work through feelings, and has been designed to be used as a tool to help parents explore these topics with their children.

Titles in the series include: Try Again – a book about resilience; Be Kind – a book about kindness; Worries – a book about feeling anxious; and All Different – a book celebrating diversity.

Each book works through its topic in the classic Mr. Men Little Miss style. Worries, for example, tells the story of Mr Worry, who worries about everything – sometimes, it starts with a funny feeling in his tummy. As Mr Calm and Little Miss Sunshine help him to ease his worries, the story prompts conversations about the worries that we all feel, how they make us feel, and the things that we can do to ease them.

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

The new release comes at a time when a report from the NHS saw the rates of probable mental disorder have increased from 2017 from one in nine to one in six. With much evidence pointing to the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown for this increase.

Books and reading have long been celebrated for their ability to build comprehension skills, but also emotional intelligence, and to support wellbeing. In fact, research from the National Literacy Trust found that children and young people who like to read are three times more likely to have better mental health than those who don’t. Beyond that, regularly reading to a child can strengthen the bond between parents and children, creating a supportive and open home environment.

When it comes to facing mental health and wellbeing topics head-on, it can be difficult to know how to explain such complex subjects to children. But, as Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, a children’s clinical psychologist working with Mr. Men Little Miss, explains, it's worth pushing through the challenges.

“Through my 20 years experience, I’ve learnt how tough it is for children to understand emotions and personality traits and how difficult it can be for parents and children to talk about these complex ideas,” Dr Kilbey says. “Even though it is really tough, it is vitally important we get this right for them. That’s why I’m working with Mr. Men Little Miss to launch their new Discover You book series. The stories bring to life a range of different emotions and feelings to help children understand what it means to be happy, sad and everything in between.”

Beyond the new book released, Dr Kilbey also shares further tips for parents, and free resources to help young children explore their emotions at Read more

Banana Split Brownie Trifle

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Ripe strawberries, bananas, and chunks of fudge brownies are layered into a Brownie Trifle with vanilla pudding and whipped cream.

Banana Split Trifle Cups

Brownie Trifle

I love using these Double Chocolate Brownies for these trifles, but any of these brownie recipes will work great in a brownie trifle.

Homemade Vanilla Pudding, instant pudding from a handy box, or store-bought puddings will all work nicely in this recipe.

Trifles are so versatile, the possibilities are endless here. You can switch up the flavor of pudding, swap in different fruits, drizzle the trifles with chocolate syrup or caramel sauce.


Brownie Trifle Ingredients

  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced bananas
  • brownie chunks
  • vanilla pudding: homemade, from a box, or store-bought
  • whipped cream

Don’t feel like whipping fresh cream? (I do promise it’s EASY.) Feel free to swap in a store-bought whipped cream or cool whip for an even easier option.

Brownie Trifle Cups

Brownie Trifle Recipe

  1. Combine the cream and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed just until the cream is whipped and fluffy. Be careful not to overmix the whipped cream. Set aside.
  2. Layer half of the pudding, whipped cream, bananas, and berries in a large serving dish or individual bowls.
  3. Sprinkle half of the chopped brownies on top and then repeat the layers.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.