Going out for the day? Let’s pack the house.

My ex-wife went away for a work conference when K was little, 6 months, and T was just over 2 and a half. To break up the monotony of the weekend I decided to take the kids to Cambridge for the day. It was a lovely warm and sunny morning, for that time of year, so it seemed a shame to be stuck in our small town where very little opens on a Sunday.

I recently found a piece of paper on which I’d scribbled a list of things I needed to take. NEEDED to take or hell would break loose. Here’s the list.

  • Nappies (x8)
  • Wipes (2 packs)
  • Change of clothes (Trousers, tshirt, socks for T) (bodysuit, trousers top for K)
  • T’s sippy cup.
  • K’s bottles (x3) and expressed breast milk (x3)
  • Snacks. (Cheese, babybels x 12)
  • Cutlery. Soft tipped spoons x4, forks x 4.
  • Sandwiches and Packed lunch
  • Toys, books, football. Emily The Dolly.
  • Bread for feeding ducks.
  • Reins.
  • Backpack.
  • Baby carrier.
  • Picnic blanket.

I packed as much as I could into the backpack in which I’d carry T and the rest into the change bag which I put in the bottom K’s Bugaboo. I made the sandwiches for our packed lunch and packed them somewhere too. Can’t remember where. I may have got another bag just in case and squirrelled that away.

My ex-wife always used to say that I packed too much when we went out. In retrospect I think she was right. But I was always like this. We went out that day from 9.30am and were back home by 4.30pm. I’d packed enough for a weekend trip away forgetting that there were shops in Cambridge where I could buy things. But ALL of these items, so I remember were essential. Let me justify myself a bit.

  • Nappies (x8)

Neither were potty trained or toilet trained and I still hadn’t worked out how many nappies I needed. Sometimes my son had enough poos to qualify for the world poo championships. 8 would do. But I remember packing another 6 just to be on the safe side, totally forgetting that actually, while T was out for the day, he rarely did anything.

  • Wipes (2 packs)

One pack to use. And the second pack just in case I leave the first pack somewhere when changing the kids. It happens. At least to me.

  • Change of clothes

What if they suddenly wet through a nappy designed for 12 hour overnight use, or needed a change of clothes? It happens I tell you. Neever to me but it could. Don’t look at me like that, you know what I mean.

  • T’s sippy cup.


  • K’s bottles (x3) and expressed breast milk (x3)

This also is obvious, if not a little excessive. But you just don’t know if 900ml of breastmilk in 6 hours is going to be enough.

  • Snacks. (Cheese, babybels x 12)

In case T gets bored or hungry lets make sure we’ve got enough. Chuck in 8 apples and three bananas as well. Just in case. What? You’re giving me that look again…

  • Cutlery. Soft tipped spoons x4, forks x 4.

Obvious. For feeding. 4 for each child I realise this may have been excessive now as we had sandwiches.

  • Sandwiches and Packed lunch. Jars of food for K x3.

We need food. 3 jars for K just in case she doesn’t like what I’m offering. So she’s got a choice for the one meal she’s going to have while we’re out.

  • Toys, books, football. Emily The Dolly.

Playthings for when we find a little park or green space. Obvious again. Emily The Dolly goes everywhere with us. Even though K shows little interest in her.

  • Bread for feeding ducks.

We’ll see ducks and we’ll need to feed them. What do you mean they can have some left over sandwiches from the picnic. Seriously? Really?

  • Reins.

Just in case T tries to run into the river and actually feed the ducks.

  • Baby carrier.

Just in case K wants out of the pushchair. So I can carry her on my front while…

  • Backpack.

…I have T on my back in the backpack. Which now weighs over 10 kilos without him in it.

  • Picnic blanket.

Because we’re having a picnic. Of course.

This day trip, as I don’t drive, involved a 20 minute walk to the railway station, and then another 10 minute walk at the other end to get into Cambridge.

I remember locking the door and saying, “Right. We’re ready. Let’s go!” Then there was a gust of wind. I looked around and the sun was less shiny. So back into the house I went to get a waterproof coat for T and K, just in case what they were wearing wouldn’t be sufficient. Gloves for both. Hats, even though they both hated wearing them. Sunglasses and suncream. Just in case it got sunny again. I locked the door and then went into the garage and packed the rain cover for the Bugaboo, the SUN cover for the bugaboo, clipped on the parasol and grabbed an umbrella.

Somehow it all fitted in. Okay, so the springs on suspension on the Bugaboo looked like I was wheeling a cannonball around rather than a little baby girl, but we’d got everything we needed.

Half way to the station I realised I’d forgotten my wallet.

We had a fun day. Full, exciting and the kids loved it. T told me he could use a banana as a phone. K just loved being out and about. Here’s T’s banana phone. It’s like an Apple phone but you can speak to monkeys apparently.

That evening the kids were tucked up in bed, asleep, by 7.00pm. I was the same by 7.30. Knackered.

So, I ask you, what are the items that you HAVE to take out with you when you go for a day out? Or are you as mental as me and pack the entire house for 30 minute trip to the shops? Or do you keep it light and remember, sensibly, that shops do sell stuff.

All comments warmly received. And thanks for reading.


38 responses to “Going out for the day? Let’s pack the house.

  1. Fantastic. I used to take everything, including two changes of clothes, winter and summer (just in case) but now I can make do with a bottle of water and a football. So glad kids grow up… 😀

    • I guess as they get older it does get easier, although I bet I’ll still be packing nappies for they kids when they’re 18. Just in case. 🙂

  2. It is exactly that. Just in case… the trains go on strike and we can’t get home, at all, ever. Just in case… the place we are going to does not have water or food or washing facilities. 😀

    • You’re right. I forgot to mention I packed some anti-bacterial hand gel just in case I had to change T or K in the park or something and couldn’t wash my hands. And a bottle of water just in case I had to change T and K or something so I COULD wash my hands. FFS.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting. 🙂

  3. I like to pack light, but babies don’t really allow that. For a full day trip I think I’d be in “kitchen sink mode” as you were.

    Also, T looks a LOT like you in that photo with the banana phone!

    • That’s because I always carry a banana in my pocket just in case I want to have a chat with some monkeys. Obviously.
      Thanks for reading. I always suggest to parents to take as little as possible because you can always buy things but never take my own advice because, actually, I’m a moron. 🙂

  4. Spot on! I still pack everything and she is not 3 and a half!! I think its because i don’t drive either so I need everything in a bag on me/pram. it got tricky the other day when she insisted on taking Eeyore with us – Eeyore is a cuddly one as big as she is. I was like where will she sit ON the pram???

    • You need one of those double prams then. One seat for your daughter and another for Eeyore.
      Thankd for commenting. It’s good to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  5. LOL – your list sounds exactly as mine is. I mean, you never know what the world is going to throw at you and when you have a child or two in tow you have to plan for that no? We are very good at remembering all the paraphernalia that we need for the little man – so good in fact that we went on a day trip which took an hour to get to, only to realise on arrival that between us we couldn’t even scrape the £3 cash we needed to park the car as we’d both forgotten to take money!!

  6. Add specifically timed medication that MUST be kept cool onto that list, just in case theres a major disaster and we don’t get home for 5pm exactly! Kids are so stressful, but its us parents who bring the stress on ourselves.

    • Absolutely true last statement. We bring it on ourselves.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  7. This WAS me with child 1&2 (now aged 14 and 11) but not sure if wisdom or idleness kicked in with child 3 (aged 3) nappies and wipes only now and I can’t always guarantee I remember them!!!

    • Wisdom probably, except for the ‘not taking the nappies and wipes’ which is purely forgetfulness which I entirely identify with. We should go on a day trip together, I always have loads spare.
      Thanks for reading and for commentating.

  8. I am the same, gemma is 2 but I carry 6 nappies at all times, no need at all. Spare clothes always carried as she is such a messy eater but I rarely change her as not worth the argument!
    Cool bag with loads of snacks goes everywhere,usually untouched when get home. the problem is you never know what they will eat and what if you get.stranded with a hungry.toddler!

    • Good points well made, and nice to know I’m not the only person in the world who does this. 🙂

    • I think they’re more common than you think, although some people don’t chose to use them. I’ve always liked the kids running around, although when it was at Lille railway station I did go slightly nuts.

      • Oh reins, have them too! What a lot of stuff now I think about.

        Our reins are a little doggy backpack. ‘normal’ reins were no good, she wanted to hold them herself!

      • T’s reins, now K’s, were a little backpack too. That’s where I stuffed the extra nappies I took. Always thinking, it’s not all thrown together you know? 😉
        Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      • We’ve got the backpack ones (actually I leave the house with both the backpack ones and the regular ones as the regular ones double as a highchair strap) I like the backback because it has a hood for emergencies

      • The backpack ones are the best cos you can shove stuff in you might need. Hoopla! 🙂

  9. Hahaha 12 babybels made me laugh. I always feel bad now if we walk past ducks and have no bread, like they’ll surely starve now. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying baby wipes now, not ever. Best invention ever along with postits. How did I manage to clean the bathroom floor or eat bbq ribs before I had L and.started buying wipes? Can’t remember but surely must have made a bloody mess with the ribs.

  10. My changing bag contains all the essentials in stupid amounts (always at least 8 nappies for a child that gets through 4 a day), hand sanitiser, mini sewing kit, little pair of scissors, complete change of clothes, cotton wool?! swim nappy (whether we are going swimming or not). . . It is one heavy bag!

    • Mini sewing kit? Do you think I need one? I forgot that. *Immediately packs two mini sewing kits* *And plasters just in case I prick myself*
      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  11. I pack for just in case all the time and have a mini house on my car just in case…..but once someone will be happy you thought of just in case. My main thing is pj’s in case we are still travelling at her bedtime and also serve as extra spare clothes. At the moment I pack the travel potty!

    • T doesn’t use a potty, just a normal toilet. SHOULD I PACK A PORTABLE TOILET?
      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  12. Used to believe in saving the planet and use reusables…well, let’s just say I had to pack a bag just for the nappies as 12 month old wet through within 2 hours, if I was lucky. So pretty good going on just 8. Still baffles me how such a tiny ‘container’ could hold so much liquid

    • Reusables. My nemesis. Yes, we did those but for going out? Just couldn’t face it, which is shiteballs of me I’m sure.
      I guess they only expell what you put in them, so it explains something. I dunno.
      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. 🙂

  13. Fantastic lol! I know i always pack extra pull up nappies for G (she wears them at night) when she stays at nanny and grandads “Just in case”!!! Well you can never be to careful lol!!! xx

  14. I used to pack like that and then leave it in the hall in the rush to get out the house and then have a big shouty row with husband about who’s fault the leaving was and start said day out in a strop! Now, spare nappy in bag and a buggy and we’re good to go……(in theory!)

  15. Oh brilliant, and quite mad. Now I have 2 I bring less. The trick is find a small bag and only allow yourself to fill that. I learned this trick in my adventures with handbags days 😉 now my handbag fits phone, purse, keys and oyster card. Used to find spare clipboards and hard hats in my pre-baby handbag!

  16. Pingback: Best of the UK Parent Blogs: Ten at Ten (61) | Tots 100·

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