Trying our hand at putting this together again so fingers crossed it doesn’t get deleted!

To be honest I didn’t think I would need to ‘pack’ a hospital bag, just take somewhat of an overnight bag and the hospital would take care of the rest lol but as I neared my due date and kinda sorta became consumed with ‘research’ on the internet lol I reckoned there was no harm in being a little prepared and in hindsight I’m glad I did so!

Before we get into the list, yes it’s a little overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time giving birth, always always keep in mind that things might not always go to plan and that’s okay! As long as mama and baby are healthy and safe, that’s literally the end goal for everyone xxx this list is also catered to a ‘normal’ /vaginal delivery only because it’s what we prepared for and did so please keep that in mind!

Most of what’s on this list is also linked to my Amazon storefront so you can find everything easily in one place! My sister made me a gift basket with most of these for my baby shower which I was ever so grateful for, so also an idea for you to put together if you’ve got a pregnant friend! Trust me, you’d be ticking one major thing off her list!


  • What bag to use?

100% recommend a small suitcase! One of those hand luggage ones because it will make yours and your support persons life a thousand times easier! I remember packing mine and Bilal was a little taken aback and joked that I wasn’t going on holiday lol but when it came time to it, rolling something with one hand as opposed to carrying weight whilst worrying about mama and baby and hospital forms etc. helps so so much! (he’s glad we used it now!)

Also have your support person pack their own bag too if they are planning to stay the night! Doesn’t have to be to the extent of a suitcase lol but whatever they might need (pajamas, toiletries etc.)

*sidenote: everyone mentioned that your hospital may or may not provide you with most of these things, but it totally varies! A friend said her hospital didn’t provide her with maxi pads post-birth and gave her folded tissue over a regular pad, whereas I got one ‘free’ one and was asked if I had brought my own lol personally I would rather have things on standby just in case because it’s one less thing to stress about as soon as a baby’s just come out of you!

I packed everything into large Ziploc bags and labelled them with a sharpie which made my life, Bilal’s life, and the nurse’s lives SO much easier lol and would highly recommend doing this! The last thing I wanted to do was describe what color pad I was looking for from my bed, and if Bilal had to step out for a call the nurse just went into the bag and found what we needed. Also once you’ve packed your bag go through it with your support person so they’re aware of what’s inside so they can better assist you when the time comes!

These were the ‘bags’ I labelled just in case it helps guide you a little:

-adult diapers

-maxi pads

-witch hazel, peri bottle, stool softener

-nipple cream and nipple pads

-baby diapers and wipes

-baby outfit (2-3 outfits)


  • What to pack?

Adult Diapers (Depends brand) – sounds silly but these will become your best friend post-birth and into your fourth trimester! I don’t know how else to explain it other than what it sounds like; a padded pull-up diaper which you’ll use as a ‘base’ for your pad sandwich (will explain a second!)

Frida Mom frozen pads – envision a glow stick that you snap in half to activate, but this time you snap a pad in half, shake it to activate, and it becomes a super cold form of ultimate relief for your perineal region! These were so blessed and helpful, especially for the first few days! *you might also come across the word ‘padsicle’ in your research, this was something new I also learnt lol it’s essential a frozen pad you place in your underwear to provide relief post-partum – the Frida mom frozen pads do the same thing but if you want to google how to make your own, go for it!

Large maxi pads (Always brand)

Tucks Witch Hazel pads or Fridamom Witch Hazel liners – these I would highly highly recommend. Witchhazel helps soothe everything down there and also has cleansing and healing properties. It’s literally instant relief! I used the pads initially and then switched to the liners, but either/or gets the job done!

*pad sandwich: witch hazel on top of the pad, and the pad goes into the diaper which you wear. If you use the Tucks pads, they come in these circular pads similar to cotton makeup removing pads but they’re just wet from being soaked in witch hazel; lay around 3-4 onto the pad. If you use the Frida liners, they pull out as a single long pad (similar to a makeup wipe), and then lie it flat onto your pad! à I’d suggest you show your support person how to put this together prior to hospital just to make things a little easier!

Frida Mom peri bottle – This is another highly recommend item! The hospital provides you with a squeezy bottle because you can’t exactly wipe down there post-birth. Its water and then pat pat pat. The hospital one is just a standard squeezy bottle, but this one has an angled arm/spout which makes it SO much easier to wash and make you feel a little cleaner like you haven’t missed a spot. You’ll literally use this so much until everythings healed and back to normal!

Nursing Bra and tank – I packed these but didn’t use them at the hospital because I stayed in my gown until I was discharged. It just made things easier for me and easier to feed baby, but you know yourself better if you’d prefer to pull yourself together and wear real clothes lol I would still recommend investing in these though, especially a tank with a built in nursing bra; it’s a little easier at the start to just throw on a cardigan while still being covered as opposed to a bra and then clothes and then when it’s time to feed baby and you’re still getting the hand of breast feeding and baby’s crying and you’re like wait let me figure this out, its a lot!! Lol might just be me, but it helped me and still does!

Cardigan – hospitals get a little chilly and it’s easier to throw on top of the hospital gown a) when you’re cold or b) if you have visitors and don’t want to get dressed but still want to look decent lol

Slippers and Socks – a pair that you’re okay with throwing out just in case you get blood or hospital stuff on!

Blanket – a million percent, and add a pillow too if you’d like! This is mostly for your support person because if you’re staying overnight chances are they’ll get a hard little couch in the corner to sleep on or a lounge chair which isn’t the most comfortable. You also might get a little cold and the blankets at hospitals don’t always cut it.

Phone charger – everyone always says pack an extra looooong charger so you have access. We packed a normal one and we survived lol but yes, a charger because you don’t know how long you’ll be at hospital for and you want to update everyone at home with what’s going on

Chapstick – yes, your lips will get dry so pack this! We like the Laneige one

Stool Softener – so apparently if you don’t have any bowel movements the first few days post-birth that’s totally normal, but that first movement is an experience. From what I read and watched, everyone recommended stool softeners to help soften the blow and I’d say they helped massively. More so post-partum once we got home and less immediately post-birth, but I’m glad we had them on hand!

Water Bottle – I mean we took this and I accidentally left it in the car but the hospital had those massive cups with a straw so we survived lol but you’ll want to stay as hydrated as possible so water is key whether its from your bottle or the hospital *a straw is super helpful though!

Nipple Cream – as soon as baby is out everything is a bit of a whirlwind and then baby’s forced on your boob and you’re like what is happening lol nipple cream is a life saver to provide relief to your chapped nipples! Also completely safe for baby too xx we used Lansinoh and it was my best friend during those initial days of breast feeding!

Nipple Pads – these I found came in handy later on once my milk started coming in *your milk doesn’t magically start flowing as soon as baby is out lol (I thought it did..!)

Baby diapers and wipes – definitely pack a few newborn diapers with you and a pack of wipes. The hospital will of course put baby in one but we were also asked if we brought our own.

Baby onesies (2-zippers) – These will become your favorites in the first few weeks of baby’s life because of the easy access to change diapers and you don’t have to think twice is they’re covered and warm. Would also suggest short sleeve onesies to wear under the zipper onesie to layer bubba because they so fresh and new and to keep them warm xx

Baby outfit – I packed a cutesy hospital outfit but ended up keeping her in a onesie and saved the outfit for when everyone would visit her at home. There was a lot going on for me and as long as baby was safe and warm that’s all that mattered lol

Baby blanket – when leaving the hospital, having a blanket on baby in the car seat isn’t a bad idea. We left while it was snowing so yes, needed one lol

Swaddle – the hospital swaddles baby in the standard hospital swaddle, but if you’d prefer your own just because, or to take cutesy photos, you do you!

Baby Hat – this also speaks to the whole keep baby warm; the hospital put a hat on her which was knitted by volunteers, but if you’d prefer your own from home, go for it!

Go home outfit – pack something comfortable for you to go home in! Your body is still going to be in recovery mode and comfort will be key! Elasticated waist might just be the way to go lol

Toiletry bag – your standard toiletries so you can feel a little normal!

Towel/loofah etc. – Again, you won’t know what you’ll be like until it actually happens; I anticipated taking a shower at hospital prior to coming home, but we were discharged at 11pm while it was snowing and I was like yea, no, I’ll wait until I get home lol I’m glad I had it just case though!

Birth Plan –  this is an individual thing I suppose; we had spoken about certain things we wanted for our delivery prior to just so we were on the same page and I wrote them down too and packed it just in case, but no one ever asked for it nor did we feel a need to take it out. You do what you feel most comfortable doing!

Baby Announcement/Name Card – completely optional, but I got the cutesy wooden milestone disk cards from Etsy alongside a name and announcement (Hello I’m new here) card. If you’re planning to use it at the hospital don’t forget to pack it lol

Polaroid camera – this is extra, but if you’re a ‘capture the moment on a polaroid’ person, don’t forget to pack this lol

Snacks and gum – I remember watching a video where someone said to pack gum mostly for your support person because the last thing you want is someone near your face giving you words of encouragement and all you can smell is their stale breath lolol and it made sense.


And that’s that! I know it sounds like a lot but I found being prepared and packing in advance gave me such peace of mind going into delivery. I also left out quantities because you pack what you feel is reasonable for you! Would I suggest an entire pack of pads, no lol but pack enough so you don’t run out.

Obviously this was my first baby and totally not claiming to know the world lol but I’m sharing what worked for me and what I found to be helpful in hopes of it doing the same for you!

As always, I love hearing from you! Let me know in the comments below if you found this helpful and/or if there’s anything you loved which didn’t make my list! #sharingiscaring xoxo

I reckon the more I talk about travel and share my sharings about travel and just put it out there into the world, it’ll eventually manifest itself and we can jetset into the skies once again lol

sharing three tips/tricks we’ve picked up over the years of travelling which will undoubtedly come in handy on your next trip which will be very soon inshallah! (manifesting for all of us here)

 

  • changing SIM cards upon arrival

I always change my SIM card as we’re landing, just to save time and have everything up and running once I’ve deplaned but never pack the little iPhone pin to poke your phone to open the little SIM slot. Easiest alternative: your earring! I always get stares by people sitting beside me like what on earth is she doing, but once I’ve managed to make the swap, some have even asked if I can do the same for them lol if you haven’t got earrings in or are a dude with no piercings, be brave and ask the air hostess and 9 times out of 10 she’ll know exactly what you’re on about!

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  • Lost suitcase key

You’ve arrived at your destination itching to shower and change your clothes. You frantically look for the itty-bitty suitcase lock you swore was in your wallet to no avail.  Can’t remember the lock code even though you swore it was 0000, or realize somehow someones magically swamped locks on your case (this has happened), which only annoys you more because you need to get into your case. Find yourself a pen (a pencil works too but preferably a pen) and all is well with the world.

Make sure both zippers are together and simply poke the pen through the closed zip in close proximity to the zippers themselves to ‘break’ the zipness. Run the pen along the zip to ‘open’ the zip et voila! I’m sure this isn’t the best treatment for your zip, but sometimes you really have no choice and are stuck in a pickle so gotta do what you gotta do! Closing the case back is super easy; grab hold of the zippers themselves and run them back around the case to lock it all in place!

 

  • No bug spray, no problem!

Picked this one up after a few jungle treks and safaris! If you’ve left your bug spray in a carry on and its taken at security and you can’t be fussed to get a new one, or don’t like sprays, or simply want an alternative which is a little stronger at keeping pesky bugs away, pick up a vicks/vaporub which works wonders. I’ve found it longer lasting and works fab around campfires or longer treks where maybe you don’t want to carry a spray for topup, but you can either pick up one of the mini vicks tubs or be old school and scoop a bit into a plastic baggy and you’re good to go! I wouldn’t recommend slathering it on your entire body lol but places you’re prone to getting bit ie. ankles, around the neck, wrists. A little defo goes a long way!

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Have you tried any of these before?! Do you have any hacks you swear by?! I’d love to hear from you! Share below in the comments! xoxo

Hola from Mexico!

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We’re en-route again, this time from a new part of the world which I haven’t ventured to yet and quite excited to experience. If you follow me on instagram you’ll know we just left Cancun a couple days ago and spent a day in Mexico City as we haven’t really got to our final destination..!

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My sister in-law is joining me this time around which is grand as we’ve traveled together before so know what to expect from each other (fact: you can’t travel with just anyone regardless of how close they are to you)

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We had decided beforehand that this wasn’t going to be a luxury, wine-and-dine trip, as we just wanted to experience the countries/cities ‘as-is’ without a hefty price tag and to kinda sorta prove to ourselves that you don’t need X amount of money to see the world.

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I know for a fact every time I’ve gone someplace, I get at least a handful of DMs asking how I fund my trips and what I do for work to afford travelling etc. and honestly friends, you can do it too! Not going to go into a long rant about how we all choose our own priorities in life and are conscious of decisions/life choices we make and the potential consequences and repercussions of those choices in the future etc etc etc., but yes, it’s completely realistic and reasonable to travel and experience the world without spending an arm an a leg if you don’t want to! Alhamdulillah I’m forever grateful for the travel opportunities I’ve got over the years with certain brands/charities/tourism boards, but I started off traveling solo to step out of my comfort zone and to try something new for myself, on my own dime, and still do, AND I’m the absolute worst with money, so if I can kinda sorta do it, I think you can too!

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Slightly gone off on a tangent, but yes, back to this trip.

We decided we would only stay in hostels as that’s the most economical option for us – you’ve also got couchsurfing and air-bnb options which are relatively less than hotels, but this worked for us (if it’s the first time you’re hearing about hostels or interested in more info, check out this blogpost here); we decided the most we would spend per night would be $20. This is still relatively ‘a lot’, but again, considering the type of room/location/reviews etc. it’s up to you what you’re okay compromising on. We’ve seen rooms at $5 a night but didn’t feel comfortable with the photos, so this just works for us; the range so far has been between $11-$18 which is in budget so yay!

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In terms of daily expenses, we’ve planned to stick to between $80-$100 USD per day for the both of us (altogether); so about $40-$50 each. This should cover food, transit, souvenirs?, and certain activities we might want to do. Granted, depending on the specific activity/tour etc. we’re willing to be flexible within reason, but obviously not a stupid amount if that makes sense..!

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We’ve been keeping track of our daily spendings and trying to stay within budget, so thought it would be great to share what and how we’re spending to kinda sorta show you that travel doesn’t always need to be super expensive. Promise my intention isn’t in any way to mock or normalize or flaunt the aforementioned budget-range because I know that’s not the case for a lot of people, but it’s one which works for us at this particular moment in time without going into debt for the sake of going on a trip.

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First up is Cancun and Mexico City. These actually worked out to be layovers en route to where we’re headed, and quite long ones at that. 19 hours in Cancun and 23 hours in Mexico City, so of course we wanted to take advantage and explore a little with whatever time we had.

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We were slightly over the 50 but under 60 in Cancun (blaming it on the excitement of it being ‘day1’ plus were super hungry after the trek hence the biggest expense being lunch lol but under is still under!) Mexico City made us both proud as we felt it was the day we did the most walking, most touristing, most eating, and still managed to be way under so yay!!

Apprehensive about the next couple days as I have a feeling we might give up on the budget and pull a yolo lol but we’ll see what happens!

 

 

Had the pleasure of spending some time with my Radisson Blu family again (Dubai) and thought I’d do a quick run-down of the properties I stayed at in the event you’re ever in town and in need of a place to stay!

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First up is Radisson Blu Deira Creek

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Next up is Radisson Blu Dubai Media City

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and lastly we’ve got Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront

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There are a couple other residences in Dubai and hotels in other Emirates, but these are the ones I’ve stayed at before as well and would definitely vouch for! Everyone at each hotel is always extremely friendly and personable, address you by your first name and wanting to go above and beyond to ensure you have an enjoyable stay x promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Was in Oman a few weekends ago and had an absolute fabulous time. Susan and Dagmo and I worked together in Kuwait and went our separate ways last year so it was lovely to catch up and see each other again! Dagmo’s moved out to Oman and we bunked with her lol so won’t be able to suggest accommodation this time around! She’s based a little out of Muscat itself, but nothing super far out; I was in Oman about 5 years ago and we stayed in Muscat so would suggest that be a starting point!

Created this ‘pocket-guide’ if you will with some of what we managed to get done over the weekend alongside an Oman bucket-list for a future trip so that might help in the event you’re planning to head over!

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I would definitely recommend renting a car or getting a driver whilst your over because it will make your life SO much easier! Last I was over I remember it being near to impossible to hail down a cab; depending on time of day and specific location it was so difficult! We were stranded at the Masjid for ages after prayers because there wasn’t a cab in sight. It didn’t look too promising this time around and from what I’ve heard it hasn’t improved much.. Dagmo having a car was a massive relief!

Sidenote: Omanis are some of the nicest people you’ll ever come across. Not once during our time did we feel unsafe or have creepy men making comments or staring etc. which fyi is kinda sorta common to encounter in most Middle Eastern countries. (I asked if I could take their photo hence them looking lol)

Sharing photos alongside bits&bobs below!

Nizwa Fort/Nizwa Souq

-5 OMR charge ($13USD)

-we drove and it took about 1.5-2 hours to get there. Easy straightforward road similar to the on from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, just a lot more scenic!

-timings vary especially on Friday due to Friday prayers [open on Friday from 8am-1130pm and then from 130pm-6pm]

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

-beautiful masjid and would always recommend Friday prayers at any masjid

-we had a bit of an unfortunate event in terms of who was and wasn’t a ‘tourist’; our friend Susan was kinda sorta kicked out/asked to leave because she wasn’t Muslim and told she should come back during tourist hours. Mind you the space was relatively empty and there was no reason for it..Dagmo and I entered and our Muslamic-ness was questioned quite thoroughly lol whether we were Muslim or not, despite being dressed in full hijab and abaya. Questions were then asked about why we were wearing sunglasses ‘like that’ if we were Muslim coming into a masjid..because it was sunny lol – mind you this isn’t typical

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-spent our last afternoon/evening by the pool which was probably the best decision we could’ve made. Gorgeous weather, stunning views, and the most beautiful sunset as the tide went out x would definitely recommend spending a day or afternoon here even more so due to the location of the hotel up on a bit of a cliff (I believe we paid 8 OMR p/p ($20USD) for a towel/access)

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Would love to hear from you or see photos of your trip if you ever venture to any of the above, or if you find new hidden secrets let your girl know! xoxo.