Travelling light with tots

There comes a time in every parent’s journey where she (or he) realises the carrying around of ten tonnes of crap has to stop.

You may love your baby changing bag. You may be sick to death of it. Either way, when your child reaches the stage you are mostly running after them, arms and legs flying, abandoning all other belongings, it does us all good to be travelling a little lighter. The novelty of that suitcase you once swooned over may well have worn right off, and become a weight around your neck. Literally.

After all, the muslins, multiple outfit changes, bottles, formula, nappy cream, etc etc should now be surplus to requirements. Shock horror, your little sprog(s) may even survive with a shop bought drink and snack, leaving the possibilities of leaving the house with just a purse, keys and a spare nappy & wipes in the car endless. If you are brave enough…

Then, if you, like me, have reached the stage you have two children wanting to ride scooters and smart trikes, the over-the-shoulder tote style bag you lovingly selected may be causing havoc with your back and ability to get from A to B. The chance of that spare outfit being the correct age bracket the one day you actually need it will be cursed by the law of sod; And the one time you need a pair of warm tights you’ll only have a summer vest, or vice versa.

I’m not even sure it really worked once we switched from travel system to stroller anyway – as the weight of the bag was easily 10 times the weight of our tiny 2nd percentile child. Hooking said bag onto the buggy handles caused all sorts of issues and parenting fail moments. Thank God for harnesses and a kid that is an adrenaline junkie – hanging upside down is no problem.

A friend of mine gave me a top tip – to bag up your spare clothes selection and leave them in the car. That made me, a total organised freak, feel a little easier about letting go of the preparedness for every eventuality.

So, this summer I made one giant leap for Mum-kind. I popped that well loved baby changing bag up in the top of a wardrobe (pending the fate of all our baby items being determined) and I put a rucksack on  my birthday wishlist. In fact, I didn’t just put any old rucksack on any old list…I forwarded my husband a link to the actual one I had my heart set on.

Gandys London – it’s one of my favourite brands (regular readers of my blog will know this). The Gandy brothers Rob & Paul inspired me so much when I heard their story (and read their book Tsunami Kids, in one afternoon). I’ve always been a huge advocate of their mission, and their flip flops.


Now, the brand have taken a step into a new product range…round towels, sunglasses, and bags. I have been lusting after one or two for quite some time.

A photo clearly NOT of me wearing my Gandys Backpack. Image source: Gandys London

Okay the target demographic is probably the eighteen to twenty something, carefree, on a once in a lifetime adventure. I may not be eighteen, or even twenty something. I definitely can’t squeeze into the carefree category (what are we going to have for tea tonight?), BUT I am a Mother. This is my greatest adventure yet. Plus, who cares! I really like the bag!

The idea of carrying two miniature Peppa Pig rucksacks awkwardly over each shoulder, as well as a handbag just wasn’t for me either. No, I’m like a cowgirl, with a drink in each side pocket like a couple of holsters; armed with nothing more than some suncream and some raisins, and we are good to go. The front pocket also makes a super fast access point for an emergency dummy & bunny situation too (yes, I know, that also needs to go. Soon, I promise).

I have at times been tempted by a classy tote bag style, but at 35 years of age, I have learnt I am a woman more about substance than style. Well, a classy kind of style anyway. As a girl who is happy drinking a pint in a grotty pub with a sticky floor, a coral designer tote bag probably isn’t really me anyway. I also hate having one of my precious hands tied to holding a bag, when it could be holding a coffee / kiddo / cocktail (not necessarily in situ). So it’s all about the rucksack. Occasionally, having caught a glimpse of my reflection I have pondered if I look like a foreign exchange student, and wondering if it’s still uncool to go two-straps as it was when I was fifteen. But who cares, I feel like I’m winning.

I’m travelling light, and I’m on my adventure.



Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. I genuinely adore the Gandys London products and their work for an amazing cause; Orphans for Orphans. I am doing my bit to spread the word about Gandys, they also make great flip flops.


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33 thoughts on “Travelling light with tots

  1. Mummy Muckups (Anna) Reply

    Oh imagine the wild abandon of a rucksack?!! The crazy freedom!! It was a joyous day for me the day my nappy bag got ditched in the bin. This looks great. Definitely an item for someone in the #coolmumclub

  2. Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind Reply

    I feel you re the baby bag. I now have an across-the-body satchel-style cool bag. It contains lunch, wipes, and a spare nappy. Done.

  3. rightroyalmother Reply

    Oh I love rucksacks and this one’s a treat! NC is still not one yet so we have a LOT of crap to cart about but I have to say I have never had a changing bag – with a dog and buggy, it has to be a rucksack all the way! I am going to look up what the Gandy brothers have been up to though; I love their story too. #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      Have you read their book? It’s one of my all time favourite reads…so inspiring. Must read again but keep lending it to everyone! x Thanks for reading & linking lovely.

  4. New Mummy Blog Reply

    I haven’t heard of the brand before, I’ll go and check them out. I agree, I’ve loved downsizing lately too, and I also keep a pile of clothes in the car – for all eventualities 🙂 #coolmumclub

  5. Louise Reply

    I love your new rucksack – much nicer than the one I use (which I think might have been from my uni days anyway!) It’s so much easier than trying to carry a changing bag once there’s less need for the stroller, although I still haven’t quite mastered travelling light – that spare set of clothes (admittedly one set that will work for both) is still there although the tip to leave some spare clothes in the car is a good one. #coolmumclub

  6. reimerandruby Reply

    I love that rucksack, looks so cool! I’ve always fancied one too myself but have not round to finding the right one for me yet. I totally agree with you, I also prefer both my hands are free to hold my kids hand or a coffee and have all my belongings hanging at the back. #coolmumclub

  7. anywaytostayathome Reply

    The day the changing bag went was a joyous one. I also use a rucksack, though not as stylish as your Gandy’s one. I did forget a change of clothes once but I had a sweatshirt on the car, there’s nothing as cute as a small wet and slightly grubby child in an oversized sweatshirt, right? #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      Absolutely! X

  8. Back With A Bump (@backwithabump_) Reply

    Sadly I’m still in the “needing ten tonnes of shit” stage..and we go away in a week. The list is just growing! #coolmumclub

  9. awetismblog Reply

    Love the bag and the idea behind it. I wish I could travel light, with a ten month old and 5yr old with ASD who’s not yet able to toilet train, I don’t see it coming any time soon. I can wish though! #coolmumclub

  10. Emma Plus Three Reply

    I’ve been thinking of getting a rucksack, as it’s such a faff carrying a shoulder bag around. This bag looks great x #coolmumclub

  11. powerporter Reply

    With my first baby I vowed I would not buy into a baby changing bag and stuck firmly with my Cath K across the body bag with a H&M fold over changing mat with pockets for nappies, wipes etc. I breastfed for a while so didn’t need to carry milk (my boobies had that covered) but I always had the wrong size clothes in the bag lol!! I went pacapod with my second bambino and I actually love it!! I love the idea of a rucksack though!! #coolmumclub

  12. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I’ve never heard of this brand. I am so impractical I need a bag like this!!! Obviously just too #cool – mumclub haha xx

  13. teacuptoria Reply

    What a fab brand and well done for showing your support. I loved it when I could leave the house without an army stash of supplies. I love rucksacks as you have your hands free for your little people and they’re better for your back. I think I need to invest in one! Fab post Sarah xxx

  14. sarahandlouisemumstheword Reply

    I didn’t get on with any of the changing bags I had and ended up switching to a ruck sack in the end too – though not a super stylish one like yours! I just looked very square and unglamorous but it was so much more practical than a change bag. Now the changing bag days are over for me (Louise) and I can leave the house with just my handbag again – amazing!! (oh, and book bags, lunch boxes, drinks bottles, rain coats, suncream, hats…) #coolmumclub

  15. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    Are we living a parallel life? I too have very recently packed away the changing bag and acquired a rucksack (for my birthday). I feel like a student and I love it. I can fit so much more toot in it and still have a hand free for each tot! I’ve also invested in a miniature matching over shoulder zip up bag, just big enough for purse, phone and keys. This lives within the rucksack most of the time, until we attend a soft play or somewhere similar, at which point the rucksack gets abandoned and is left hanging on a chair, and in I go to the human car wash with just my valuables in my teeny zippy bag. It’s a whole new era isn’t it? Love your bag – very stylish! (and of course #cool!) Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub xx

  16. Sally Oddy Reply

    A rucksack is totally the way to go! I watched a vlog recently where the dad took his 3ish year old for a day in London and literally just had one spare nappy in the pocket of his jacket…now that is daring!! Loving the style – will check them out! #coolmumclub

  17. Over Heaven's Hill Reply

    oooo I really like that bag too! absolutely perfect for day trips!! #coolmumclub

  18. Ursula (AKA Mumbelievable) Reply

    So timely lovely! I recently ditched the changing bag/Peppa rucksack in lieu of trendy handbag and plumped for a gorge tote which is now partially ruined and totally impractical. Expensive mistake-a-to-make-a….. So I will now be investigating more suitable (and still stylish) options. Thanks for the inspiration! Xxx #coolmumclub X

  19. Mad Mommy Reply

    I love your idea of leaving a bag in the car. I cannot wait to utilize it when my soon to arrive baby is old enough. #coolmumclub

  20. wendy Reply

    This is a fab looking bag and what a fab cause to support too. I have been thinking about getting a rucksack, I keep finding myself looking at them whenever I’ve been out shopping. They seem perfect for carrying all the toddler essentials around and for keeping your hands free for other things.xx #coolmumclub

  21. DomesticatedMomster Reply

    I love me a good pair of flip flops…like that bag too! I am one of those moms who since giving up the diaper bag now hoards everything in her purse. Thanks so much for hostessing #coolmumclub :))

  22. Tooting Mama Reply

    I’ll have to check out the Gandy brand, had never heard of it before. I don’t have toddlers, and my two can pull their own suitcases (you’re time will come!), but this year we’re taking the pooch on hols and travelling light with him is going to be a challenge!

  23. My Petit Canard Reply

    Ah the freedom! I cant wait to get back to that place where I no longer need to lug around a big, heavy changing bag! Having enjoyed the last two years of handbags over changing bags its been a bit of a pain to go back, but this year will soon fly im sure 😉 love that bag and the sound of the brand, definitely one to check out I think. Emily #coolmumclyb

  24. Agent Spitback Reply

    Woohoo! I loved it when I swapped a rucksack for the clunky diaper bag. All of a sudden, I felt a little like my old self again. I even made my kids carry their own rucksack each, with a drink, snacks and change of clothes and voila, I felt so light! That is a big milestone, isn’t it? #coolmumclub

  25. Jordanne Lee Reply

    That back pack is just stunning! I love a good back pack. Now that the little one is walking and such he has his own little rucksack with his stuff it it and he feels so independent whilst doing it. I should probably invest in a back pack rather than a little handbag that just doesn’t hold everything in it. It’s great when you outgrow the diaper bag stage. #coolmumclub

    Jordanne ||

  26. bridiebythesea Reply

    Aw I love this and I love the rucksack! I’ve started thinking the same, especially when my mum refused to take our changing bag to the park the other day as it is too heavy. *wake up call* Plus we rarely need half the things in there, as long as there is a box of raisins, we’re good to go! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub lovely xx

  27. Emma Reply

    I retired my change bag ages ago now and went for a rucksack. its not overly good looking but its so bloody practical and its fab for softplay too as I keep my keys and purse and phone all on me too if im on me lonesome!! #coolmumclub

  28. crummymummy1 Reply

    I think it’s time for me to retire the nappy bag and graduate to a ruck sack too! #coolmumclub

  29. tammymum Reply

    That’s brilliant I love the ethos behind his to and think it’s great you have posted about it. I must say I didn’t know the range had expanded so I will definitely be checking it out xx #coolmumclub

  30. absolutely prabulous Reply

    “No, I’m like a cowgirl, with a drink in each side pocket like a couple of holsters; armed with nothing more than some suncream and some raisins, and we are good to go.” Such a way with words.
    The funny thing is I went through SUCH a backpack phase for so long, two of my most prized possessions of my whole life being a heavy leather one I got in Greece (stunning) and a black fabric baby changing bag one from OiOi when my eldest was a few months old. I loved them. But now, even though I’m not quite a Duchess of Cambridge grown up tote style gal, backpacks are something I use for winter hikes rather than out and about during the day. I keep trying to do grown up handbags (and failing). #CoolMumClub

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