What to pack.
As well as your usual nappies, baby wipes etc we also pack a host of other things in our baby bag. Actually it's not a baby bag anymore it's a rather nice Cath Kidston bag I got in the sale last year. It's a ruck sack style so it makes it super easy to carry in the rain when you are holding the hand of a toddler and the ginormous car seat with the equally ginormous baby boy. Cleverly I also got a boy patterned bag so that the husband will hold it. I learnt that lesson after the he refused to carry the red spotty CK baby bag.
So anyway, we pack plastic knives and forks, essential for places like today that gave my girl spoons fit for a giant. We also have in the bag straws I have picked up from fast food places which helps with places that don't serve fruit shoots (yes, it was THAT posh!). I have lots of serviettes and the dream that is the disposable bib. Oh these are amazing things. Who wants to take home a stinky dirty bib? Not I. And at the bottom a couple of small toy things for the baby to play with should (when) he gets bored.
Snacks - the modern Mums saviour.
Always ensure you have snacks. Lots of them. They don't have to be unhealthy as there are a lot on sale which are healthy. Today we packed a banana for the baby along with a couple packs of raisins, breadsticks (kids bloomin love them!) and some organix gingerbread men. Oh and of course the staple pack of rice cakes. These proved life savers today as not only did the food take ages but also it was a bit hot. So to stop screaming children you can give them a rice cake to gnaw on and they are fine!
Ok, in an ideal world our children would be creating origami from serviettes or engaging in high brow conversation about what they did in pre school. But let's be honest. Take them somewhere, a bit new, a bit hot and make them wait a bit too long for food and they are going to turn into rabid monsters. So we now take the tablet places with us. For educational games. But if she's proper losing the plot we have been known to ease on a suitable television programme. One day she sat silently watching an episode of teletubbies. In Chinese.
Don't stay in!
Yes. It is a bit of a chore going out, and it is easier to let them eat and make a mess at home. But at the end of the day life's too short to worry if the baby gets a bit of mash on the pubs ceiling (better than my ceiling quite frankly) or if my girl spills squash everywhere, so go out. It's fun! And makes for a nice bit of family time.