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LivingTODDLER IN TOW WITH RACHEL HARRISON

WITH RACHEL HARRISON
OF OHNORACHIO

 

The first few years are tough to say the least. Full of beautiful, happy memories to last a lifetime sure, but is it fair to say you need a break!? Preferably a sun-soaked one within walking distance of an ocean dip. How about with a toddler in tow? Well it can make for a truly wonderful time, actually and although a daunting thought for many, Rachel Harrison of ohnorachio talks us through those all-important dos and don’ts experienced firsthand during a brief trip to coastal Turkey!

 

 

HI RACHEL, WE’RE SO EXCITED TO GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH LITTLE RIVER’S FIRST EVER HOLIDAY ABROAD! HOW WAS THE AIRPORT EXPERIENCE? AND HOW DID YOU KEEP RIVER ENTERTAINED DURING ALL THE WAITING AROUND THAT OFTEN COMES WITH TRAVELLING OVERSEAS?

The airport experience was actually a lot less stressful than I’d imagined it might be with an always on the move toddler! I’m sure it was largely down to all of the planning we did in advance to have ways of keeping him entertained – all of which I can thank my far more experienced than I, lovely Instagram followers for! We chose not to take a pushchair, & opted for our super comfortable Ergobaby carrier instead as it was less for us to carry & saved the worry of our pushchair getting damaged in transit, or inevitably River wanting to get out & crawl around at inconvenient times around the airport!

We essentially took a LOAD of different snacks for him, and his refillable water bottle as you’re able to take bottles larger than 100ml through security as long as they’re empty when you go through. Most airports have water fountains/bottle filling stations at various points & Gatwick conveniently had one right on the other side of security.

The advice I was given by lots of people was to get through to the boarding gate area as quickly as possible & then let him crawl around as much as he likes, to burn off all that energy which worked really well. He was very happy crawling around waving at everyone & thankfully our flight wasn’t delayed on the way out!

 

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO GET RIVER’S SLEEPING ROUTINE ADJUSTED TO THE TIME DIFFERENCE?

We’re quite relaxed when it comes to a ‘routine’ for Riv, we tend to wait for his sleepy cues when it comes to naps & bedtime rather than rigidly planning our days around them! The one thing we do always do though, which works for us & worked well on holiday; is to keep the order in which we get him ready & settled exactly the same: darken the room > spritz his lavender room spray {so the smell is familiar & like home wherever we are} > read a book > put his sleepy playlist on Spotify we made & always use > offer milk, then try to settle him.

 The actual time difference in Turkey is only two hours, so there wasn’t any jet lag or anything like that to contend with on this holiday – not sure we’re brave enough for that yet!

 

ARE YOU INTRODUCING HIM TO NEW FOODS YET? IF SO, WAS HE AN ADVENTUROUS EATER WITH THE LOCAL CUISINE OR DID YOU KEEP IT SIMPLE?

 

Since River was 6 months we jumped straight in with baby led weaning & have always just offered him a wide variety of things from whatever we’re eating. We’re lucky that he’s always loved food & so far will try anything and everything put in front of him. We’re vegetarian & stayed in a lovely apartment that gave us the option of cooking ourselves & all eating together as a family which was lovely. So we did a combination of eating out & cooking which worked really well. Riv just continued to have small amounts of our food.

 He loved trying olives, enjoyed eating his weight in lovely fresh juicy tomatoes & even decided he’s a big fan of dolmades {stuffed vine leaves}. He was especially enthusiastic about the wonderful Turkish breakfast spreads we had a few times at a lovely local restaurant we discovered!

DID YOU EMBARK ON ANY EXCITING ADVENTURES OVER THERE OR DID YOU OPT FOR A CHILLED ONE?

 

 

We kept the holiday mostly chilled, as it was just nice to relax a bit! Having my parents, my sister & sister in law all with us too was great as everyone got stuck in with entertaining River & the apartment had a pool {a bit chilly for Riv, it being the beginning of the season} but also a little paddling pool which he enjoyed splashing in every day!

We did however make sure we took the opportunity to visit the ancient city of Ephesus which was only a short drive away & was an incredible experience! Another place that reaffirmed why taking our carrier rather than a pushchair was definitely the best shout! It’s awe inspiring to see how much of the ancient city has survived & having Riv comfortably strapped to my front meant we were even able to scale to the top of the great amphitheater together & enjoy the stunning views!

 

 

The advice I was given by lots of people was to get through to the boarding gate area as quickly as possible & then let him crawl around as much as he likes!

 

WERE YOU ABLE TO JUST SWITCH OFF AND NOT THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT WORK AND LIFE IN GENERAL BACK HOME?

Absolutely, I think having the extended family with us really helped us to relax & enjoy our time together. It’s not often we all get together like that, especially not for two weeks. It was wonderful for River to have the freedom to explore the whole apartment and garden, see all kinds of new sights, splash in the sea & sit on the beach & have so many of his family there all the time to entertain him. We certainly miss them all now we’re back in the swing of normal life!

We did miss our cats though! River especially – he thinks all cats are called ‘Momo’, but did very much enjoy spotting and waving at all the local, very friendly strays that were around!

 

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO KIT RIVER OUT IN STYLISH EVENING CHOICES AFTER A PRE-DINNER NAP?

It was only at the beginning of the summer season, but the temperature did rise to nearly 30 quite a lot during the day, though it did get a lot cooler at night. We made sure we packed Riv a variety of outfits that could work for both the heat & the cooler evenings – though Jack has to reign me in a little when it came to packing as River has so many cute clothes if it had been left completely to me we’d have had the option of multiple daily outfit changes & more clothes than he’d ever have actually needed! I definitely live vicariously through him – if only they did his cute clothes in adult size!! Anyway, we took a few cute rompers, that he could wear on their own in the day & then as it got cooler we could pop a little long sleeved top on underneath & add a little cardigan & knee high socks to keep him warm. It worked really well & I just can’t resist having those chubby little legs on show!

 

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN COASTAL TURKEY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR AND DID RIVER ADAPT TO THE CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS?

The weather was lovely and warm actually – not swelteringly hot & being on the coast there was always a nice cool breeze which made it really comfortable. Other than not being a fan of being slathered in factor 50 whenever we went out for the day Riv did remarkably well in the heat. Though we managed to keep the full body slathering to a minimum at the beach & by the pool as we had some lovely high SPF protected swimwear that was brilliant to throw on him & keep him cool, comfortable & safe from the sun!

 

 

WHERE DID YOU DECIDE TO EAT OF AN EVENING? ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?

We found a brilliant local Turkish restaurant in Kuşadası marina called Oksana that served delicious fresh food with an incredible view out across the sea & of the beautiful mountains that surround the coast. There were plenty of vegetarian options even though they were a speciality fish restaurant & the staff were just so kind & welcoming, especially with River.

That’s one of the things that stood out to us on the trip. How family oriented the locals were. Everyone wanted to chat to River, hold his hand, wave – wherever we were. It was so lovely & made us feel so relaxed & at ease. Whenever we went to a restaurant the staff always wanted to take him out of the highchair for a cuddle & take him off to meet the rest of the staff in the kitchen or wherever. At first it felt a bit odd but we soon realised that was completely normal to them & River loved it! He’d always come back with something to eat in hand! Haha, either a nice juicy strawberry, a banana, or a big chunk of bread. It was so sweet! It never felt like having a little one in tow was an inconvenience or a nuisance to people. Which sadly it often does when eating out in the UK!

 

WHAT WERE THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS YOU NEEDED TO PACK THAT THE HOLIDAY WOULD HAVE BEEN A CATASTROPHE WITHOUT!?

Number one would have to be the summer Ergobaby carrier. That went EVERYWHERE with us & was an essential for getting around with Riv on public transport. Alongside that would be our iPad to play the sleepy music to him whilst he snoozed in his cot & the lavender room spray that kept it all familiar for him; a handful of books – he loves being read to & having one of his favourite books to hand when we were out & about was a great distraction tool; definitely lots of snacks – especially for the airport/plane…also a few fun little toys & number one plane distraction/entertainment: post-it notes! To stick repeatedly on the seat in front & let him peel off. That was a brilliant trick & killed lots of time!

 

AND FINALLY, WERE YOU ABLE TO GRAB SOME WELL-DESERVED TIME TO RELAX OVER THERE?

Absolutely! Although I already think we need another holiday, the relaxed feeling didn’t last long after we returned home!!

 

 

 

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