Category Archives: Mini-Manual

Mini-Manual – Top Tips for Travels with a Tot

With Mini in tow, the days of a starting a holiday with a leisurely shop in duty free and a G&T (or two) on the flight are well and truly over but, with just a little bit of preparation, holidays with your little travel companion can still be enjoyable and relaxing!



Have Bag, Will Travel!

Be the leader of the pack with a super-organized travel bag.  Make things easier to find by packing these 4 smaller bags to put into your main bag:

  • A ‘Goodie Bag’ with a selection of toys, books and a favourite teddy.
  • A ‘Nappy Bag’ with nappies, wipes, cream, tissues and a change mat.  Always pack at least 2 more nappies than you think you’ll need.
  • A ‘Snack Bag’ with water, milk and meals for your tot, along with healthy treats packed in small sandwich bags, perfect for tot-sized hands.
  • A ‘Clothes Bag’ with a change of clothes and spare bibs for Mini and a spare top for you.  Pack a favourite blanket so Mini can snuggle up if cold or stretch out in the airport lounge. 

Don’t forget a few sealable plastic bags to tie up used nappies and wet clothes.


Super Suitcase

To ensure Mini’s holiday luggage packs a punch, factor on two outfits per day. Here are some top tips:

  • Layering clothes is the best way to manage changing temperatures. 
  • Swimsuits with SPF protection are a must for hot holidays, and sunscreen and hats are necessary regardless of the destination.
  • Stock up on washable bibs and pack a portable high chair.  
  • To stop the new time zone getting the better of Mini’s bedtime routine, take small bottles of her favourite baby wash and lotion before tucking her up in a travel cot (which will double up as a safe play area in the daytime). (Also, stock up on your favourite jet lag remedy.) 
  • Most hotel rooms or villas will need childproofing.  The usual culprits of plug sockets, long curtains and electrical cords will need attention.  Masking tape and pipe cleaners offer a quick fix for most danger zones.
  • Finally, don’t forget a first aid kit in case of bumps, scrapes and pesky mosquito bites.

Flying High with Mini

A happy Mini means a happy Moi (and fellow passengers!).  Take a team trip to the loo just before you board the plane then, with your super organized travel bag, you can both look forward to a top flight.   If Mini is traveling on your lap, a baby carrier or sling is a great way for you both to relax and sleep safely. 


Smart Mums board the plane last to minimize the time your bundle of energy is cooped up on the plane.  On boarding, put a pack of baby wipes in the seat pocket, grab a bottle and/or dummy to relieve ear pressure at take off and landing, then sit back with Mini and her favourite toy and relax.


And Finally……

Don’t forget your camera to capture the magical moments holidaying with your tot (see our Mini Manual on how to take fabulous photos!)  


What Mini says:

Sounds like our holiday will be ‘plane’ sailing!


This Mini Manual is sponsored by Baby-friendly Boltholes, the website for stylish escapes – perfect for pre-schoolers.


If you enjoyed this article, see’s Mini Manuals for Practical Tips of Life with a Baby:

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Mini-Manual – Heart Health

– Spring Cleaning Tips for your Kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. How’s your’s holding out? Try these simple tricks to avoid cardiac arrest and get your home in better working order.

metm17.jpg– Cut the Kitchen Clutter
Is everything in your kitchen where you need it most? Spend 15 minutes rethinking your kitchen – and another 15 minutes implementing the changes – and you’ll save plenty of time.

– Time to Regroup (Your Groceries)
The coffee is next to the baby cereal which is nowhere near the sugar (for the coffee, silly). It’s time to rethink your pantry shelves and regroup logically. The same goes for the fridge. Who knows, being able to find what you’re looking for may also inspire you to try out new recipes – and not just the puréed variety.

– Organise your Freezer
Try to keep control of the contents of your freezer. If you’re feeling eligible for the Little Miss Perfect award, you could make a list of its contents and tick off things as you use them. We know, in an ideal world … Or if you’re just like the rest of us make sure you clean out your freezer every few months. And get rid of that thing in the back corner.

– Stock Up (Your Pantry)
List all household items you use on a large scale, such as kitchen towels, rubbish bags, toilet paper, etc., and do one shop to stock up on them. Better yet, make a monthly list on an online shopping site and set yourself reminders. Buying in bulk saves you time and money.

– Multi-task
Use the minutes while waiting for pasta to boil to do small household tasks such as descaling the kettle or cleaning the filters of the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer.

What Mini says:
Why does she keep trying to tidy my mess? Chaos rules!

Our Mini-Manuals are filled with tips for life avec bébé. Read the Mini-Manual on Green Living and Taking Great Baby Pics.

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Green Living

– It’s time to care about the Earth, Mother.

metm5.jpgOur Mini-Manuals are filled with tips for life avec bébé. Here we focus on small things that busy, over-achieving, multi-tasking, multi-talented mums can do to make a difference to the Planet. And we’ll be helping you with that little resolution – the one to become a Green Goddess (between midnight feeds). After all, now you really have an incentive to ensure the earth’s future …

Tip 1 – Face Facts
Time to ‘fess up. Get a proper sense of how you contribute to the Earth’s crisis by calculating your family’s carbon footprint with the Act on CO2 carbon calculator. It’s quick and easy. Perfect for mums.

Tip 2 – Child (and Phantom)-proof!
When child-proofing your home, think about countering phantom loads (the power consumed by any device while plugged in but not on). Use power strips which make it easy to “unplug” many appliances at once – and make it so much easier to protect your little ghost from frights in the night. That’s mummy multi-tasking at its best.

Tip 3 – The Cheque’s in the Post. (So is my shopping.)
Make 2008 the year of the mouse. You’ll prevent paper waste (tonnes of it!) and save money and time. And, online shopping also saves energy (e-commerce warehouses use much less energy than retail shops). Plus, it’s an easy way to reduce that vertigo-inducing to-do list. (And, no sophisticated filing systems for junior to wreak havoc with.)

Tip 4 – Green is the New …
Next time you need to buy a toy – whether for your little gift-guzzler or the one next door, think green. Most toy shops offer toxin-free eco-toys, making for much healthier toy-eating by the little guzzler.

Tip 5 – Taste for Travel
If you can’t go the distance on foot then use public transport. And if you simply must drive to that music class, why not share the journey with another mum and tot?

When planning your much-deserved family holidays, find options that are closer to home. It makes for more pleasant travel with junior, and will go some way to reducing your travel footprint.

Other things you may want to consider:

  • Switch to low energy light bulbs. This simple solution allows you to save power and money.
  • Don’t throw out toiletry and product containers before they’re really empty – squeeze, cut, shake or water down to help lessen waste.
  • Opt for bio or cloth nappies instead of disposables. Put an end to the nappy landfills.
  • Choose organic baby food or make your own with locally-sourced produce.


What Mini says:
Forget ‘red lorry, yellow lorry’, green is definitely the way to go!

Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this article by hitting reply and typing the word “more” (or “more please,” depending on your manner/ manners /mood).



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Mini-Manual – Tips for Taking Great Baby Shots (Part 2)

See yourself as the next Annie Liebowitz? Use our Tips on Taking Great Baby Pics to get into the game. (Of course we know that in time to come your subject will be as famous as Annie’s). In Part 2 of our Mini-Manual, you’ll learn how to set the scene and take some great action shots. (Click here for Part 1).

metm9.gifTip 4 – More is well, more
Even professional photographers snap loads just to get a few great shots. The more pictures you take the better your chances of taking that perfect shot. You never know when a great opportunity will arise. Take the camera wherever you go – turn your change bag into a camera bag. (Of course you can squeeze one more thing into it.) And get creative! Use different settings and different perspectives. (You can always delete the ones you don’t want.) If you’re feeling really adventurous, try the multi exposure setting which lets you take many shots in a short period of time.

Tip 5 – Setting the Scene
Keep the setting or background simple. Avoid too much distracting stuff. You don’t want to detract from the focus of your photos – your little angel. If you have to contend with objects in the natural environment, zoom in close. Getting part of your treasure’s head is better than losing her in the midst of a blasted heath. Or leave the background out of focus by staying close to your little work of art and moving her slightly forward, away from the background.

Sometimes other people and items can help to frame baby or focus his attention – perhaps a favourite toy or household item (you know how much he loves your Anja Hindmarch purse). If you can handle it, make bath time picture time.

Tip 6 – Action Shots
Getting your baby to sit still for pictures can be challenging but with the right techniques, you can capture great photos — even on the move. Prevent shutter lag (the time lag from the moment you press the shutter to when the camera actually takes the picture) by pressing the shutter down lightly to lock the focus on your subject. Continue to hold the button down until you’re ready to shoot. This lets you take the picture much faster because you’re already in focus. Many cameras also have an action mode which speeds up your shutter speed and helps avoid blur.

Happy snapping!

What Mini says:
Where’s the cheese everyone keeps talking about? is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.


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Mini-Manual – Tips for Taking Great Baby Shots (Part 1)

Introducing the Mini-Manual
A little longer than our usual missives, the Mini-Manual provides practical, how-to advice on life avec bébé. As we approach the silly season, this Mini Manual looks at taking great baby shots.

Feel the urge to take endless baby pics but fed-up when your works of art are not quite what you’d imagined? Use our tips to become the next Anne Geddes (cute get-ups optional).

1 – Natural lighting
As you’ve probably worked out, babies are especially sensitive to bright light. This includes harsh sunlight and flash photography. If possible, take photos during the day either outside in a natural setting or out of direct sunlight but with all the indoor lights on (this gives a softer tone on baby’s fair skin).

If you’re feeling more adventurous, take photos early in the morning or late in the evening right before the sun sets. Use your flash outside to produce stunning results.

2 – On your knees
Now may not be the moment for those 4 inch heels … get down to the level of your tot. It will make them more comfortable and give you a better view of their features. Never photograph from above. (When taking photos of a baby on its back, stand directly over the baby and shoot straight down.)

3 – Mood
We’re not talking candle-lit dinners to set the tone! But be sensitive to your baby’s mood. If you want pictures of a smiling baby then don’t start a photo session when your little world wide wailer is cranky. But do capture a range of emotions – all moods can make for beautiful pictures. And be sure to get rid of any distractions – too many people, anything that moves or makes a noise.

(A good tip is to shoot using the LCD screen and not the viewfinder so that the tyke can see and react to you. Do whatever it takes to make your little one smile!)

Don’t limit yourself to colour photos. Black and white pics have a timeless quality perfectly suited to baby photos. And with photo-shop you can really have some fun!


What Mini says:
“Alright Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

In Part 2 of the Mini-Manual learn to Set the Scene and take Action Shots. Don’t miss it! is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.


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