Hi hi! We’re back from our trip and have a few posts lined up with some helpful tips, hints, and purchases that came in handy with Noura. This was our first family trip and we were gone for a little over a month; 5 countries with varying climates so you can imagine the stress in packing for this lol it was my first time having to pack for a baby, let alone taking all that into consideration but alhamdulilah we did it!

I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and buy a million and one things just for the sake of keeping Noura preoccupied on the trip; the whole point was for her to be preoccupied with the world duh lol so I intentionally limited myself to a maximum of 10 new items which had the potential to make the trip a little easier (as per my research and the tiktok gods lol)

I can hand on heart say that each of these definitely came in handy when it was their time to shine; glad I purchased them, yes, but could I have also done without a couple? yea I guess so! Namely the Itzy-Ritzy toy and the Baby Einstein one which was so surprising because I thought she would love those the entire trip, but our girl got bored of them real quick, sigh.

Listing these in order of *most useful to not so most useful for you to check out for yourself! I think a majority of these would come in handy for bubbas of any ages during a trip, but you know your baby best!

  • Toy Safety Straps – girl amazing amazing amazing! Even if you’re not travelling! They’re cute and silicone and come in a pack of 4, but you essentially tie one end to babys toy, pacifier, bottle, whatever it is, and the other to the high chair, or stroller, or chair, wherever, and it completely eliminates you being a flustered mama constantly picking up said item from the ground each time it drops! Genius right?! Baby eventually figures out that they can pull the string up and get their item all on their own and everyone wins!
  •  Disposable Bibs – The exact ones we got are no longer available, but these made life so much easier when feeding baby in public or you’re out someplace to eat. There are 3 sticky tabs to peel off, 2 stick to babys chest and the other is for the neck bit, and voila! They’re leak-proof so even if something spills, no outfits are ruined, literally just like the silicone one you use at home but when baby’s done eating you take it off and throw it away. Of course you could pack your silicone one and just wash it each time – I packed ours too – but this just made life so much easier at restaurants etc.
  • Portable White Noise Machine – We’re officially so annoyed with this after hearing it every night for a month lol but Nunu usually has her hatch going at night while she sleeps so we wanted to maintain some consistency with her bedtime despite the obvious jet lag. The battery on this lasts ages, it’s super portable and can hang from anywhere, has multiple sound options to choose from and the volume reach on it is super good. I was a bit mehh at the price but after getting it and using it, it’s definitely a high quality product worth every penny!
  • Suction Spinner Toys – Not only were these fab for when we had a window seat on the plane, we used them in hotel rooms, at the airport itself, wherever there was a wall they would suction on to and we needed a distraction lol I currently have two stuck to the island in our kitchen and one upstairs on my bathroom cabinet, so yes, highly recommend lol
  • Biodegradable Baby Laundry Sheets –  These were recommended by a friend and I was like woah! I didn’t even think about what I’d do about washing Nunu’s laundry lol the only reason why they’re further down is because I only used them a couple times due to not having access to a laundry machine ourselves, but when we did use them, fabulous! They come in a flat pack, so its super easy and compact to pack. Each sheet rips into two pieces and you just throw one of those pieces into a load and carry on as usual! Such a genius idea!
  • Stroller fan – Okay I was totally going back and forth on this one and tried to find a much cheaper one at my local dollar store (which I couldn’t), but it came in handy loads, both in Dubai and especially during Umrah amongst the sea of people to help keep Noura cool, so I can’t hate it. It’s super sturdy, the grip bit doesn’t slide at all, the fan itself has 3 speeds and an LED light with different brightness settings, so meh, I still love it and I know it will come in handy in the future lol
  • Baby Einstein Sensory Clutch Toy – can’t find this one on amazon, but I picked it up from Toys R’ Us super excited at the fact it was so compact and had so many sensory features that Nunu would love lol but she was just meh about it. Other babies we met in passing and at the masjid etc loved it haha so maybe it’s just Noura, but I loved it!
  • Itzy Ritzy Link Toy – again, another toy I was so excited to surprise her with for the trip because it was just so multi-functional, teether and pull-tabs and crunchy feet so my logic was perfect it’s an all-in-one so I’m not going to bother packing other toys lol but it was another meh for my Nunu lol Itzy-Ritzy does these in different animals though so still worth checking out for your bubs!
  • Packing Cubes – purchased two sets of these because they were so helpful in organizing Nunu’s clothes for each location. I had planned her outfits before hand so automatically knew which bag was for which country and just picked up a ready-made-set and we were good to go. Because we didn’t get her a seat on the plane (she was in my lap), she didn’t get any checked luggage, so the cubes fit perfectly in our carry-on cases which was fab! Bilal got use out of the second set lol I personally couldn’t for my clothes; undergarments and hijabs yes, but would recommend cubes for babies 100%!
  • Baby Munchkin Spill Proof Cup – the logic behind this was that this way we would always have water for her that she could drink herself and it wouldn’t spill lol duh duh. Turns out the cup is still kinda sorta big for her and so when you drink your nose has to touch the center in order for the liquid to come out but Nunu still has a baby face and nose so it wasn’t really practical. I literally used the bottom plastic cup bit once and then it remained in our case the entire trip lol I think it’s fab if your kids are toddlers maybe, but yea this one we could have definitely done without!

These are definitely items I’ll be re-packing on our next trip but I’d love to hear if you’ve got any others! Let me know some of your must-try finds! Xoxo

A few weeks ago we headed up to Prince Edward County, someplace neither of us have ever been! I’ve always seen everyone posting about how gorgeous it is and the quaint unique stays available in the County so wanted to see what all the hype was about. (the hype is in fact very real lol)

We checked into the Drake Motor Inn, a nostalgic nod to the classic roadside motel – without the musty old-school motel vibes you’re thinking about lol think updated rooms, modern twists and amenities, keyless digital entry, and ‘woof’ beds! This is probably one of the first places I’ve come across who encourage bringing your furry friend along and provide everything they also need for a comfortable stay!

You’re also probably wondering if the Motor Inn has any affiliation with The Drake Hotel in Toronto, and the answer is yes! Think of it as a sister property to The Drake Hotel located in Toronto, and the Drake Devonshire in Wellington (Prince Edward County). The Drake Motor Inn is actually located just up the road from the lakefront Drake Devonshire which allows you to enjoy and explore both properties – the restaurant and bar is actually located at the Devonshire so that’s where you would head for some munch regardless, pleasant stroll included!

The Motor Inn itself is a two-building guesthouse featuring 12 pet-friendly rooms with an abundance of unique art, photography, and installations placed around the grounds (which also translates over at The Devonshire). Rooms can be booked as either single, double, and triple stays, depending on the size of your party, and each room features their own balcony or walk-out garden.

Upon booking, simply let the team know if you’ll be bringing pets or babies and they’ll set your room accordingly – if you don’t know this by now, we literally travel everywhere with our baby bassinet lol and did so again on this trip presuming there would be no other space for her to sleep so it just made sense. We were oh so pleasantly surprised when we opened the door and saw a crib by the bedside and my heart went all warm and fuzzy inside because I thought it was such a considerate and thoughtful gesture, especially since we had never once requested anything for bubba x extra points in our books for the team for catering to their guests and to be honest the same hospitality and warmth was something very evident and consistent throughout our entire stay!xxx

Back to the rooms lol – rooms are equipped with a stocked mini fridge, retro snacks, and quality body amenities (Malin+Goetz Rum Body Wash is now my fave!)  Each building has the most coolest of common rooms which are perfect to lounge in or get some work done – board games, and vintage polaroid cameras are available for you to borrow and complimentary tea/coffee is brought out to the common rooms every morning! An outdoor fire pit and yard space is also on the grounds for guest use.

We were fortunate to spend a good amount of time on both properties, the Motor Inn and the Devonshire as it’s where we ate all our meals and enjoyed the lakefront view!

Our first night consisted of a gorgeous lakefront dinner at The Perch. What on earth is ‘The Perch’ you may ask?! The Perch is a unique multi-functional outdoor wooden A-frame built out over the water, essentially looking like a wooden tent if you will, which can be used for anything from intimate proposals, to concerts, to special dining experiences, and oh so cool in my personal opinion!

The team had set up an almost glamping-like dining experience for us which I loved, and loved even more because there was enough space for us to have our bassinet in close proximity! While we ate, Nunu was lulled to sleep by the waves and it was the most loveliest of evenings x Another notable mention about catering to guests needs, I had mentioned that we only eat halal, but seafood was totally okay, and to be honest did not think twice about anyone sourcing halal meat out in Prince Edward County of all places. Not only was a variety of halal steak and lamb offered to us (which was delicious by the way!), but non-alcoholic mocktails to compliment dinner was the cherry-on-top to us truly feeling that the team had gone above-and-beyond to ensure we got the very best experience during our stay. They didn’t have to, but they did, and again that consistent hospitality and kindness is a reason we will be back again! *sidenote: burrata and grilled peaches is not a combo to sleep on!

I was up early the next morning so had a bit of a wander by the lake and explored the back trail at the Devonshire. It made me realize how much I missed those early mornings during my solo travels of just silent stillness and a cool breeze which made me feel like all was one with the world x I lucked out and caught sight of a beautiful Heron on the lakefront which is actually the first time I’ve ever seen one up close so yay for firsts! The back trail was more of a unique art walk, with various pieces of art posted against the fence and a nostalgic tetherball pole which we of course tried our hand at haha

The addition of a porch at the back end of the property which overlooks the lake was the perfect spot to enjoy my quiet morning with a side of fresh blueberry scones made in-house. It ended up being my private short-lived pinterest morning lol but I loved it just the same! Colourful barstools, standing tables, and built-in benches allow for a less ‘formal’ lounging experience and a perfect spot to grab drinks and chat while enjoying the lakefront breeze.

As our stay was only for a couple days, we only managed to see a little bit of town. There was an Alpaca farm I was keen on taking Nunu to, but I also considered she’s still a little too small to enjoy it so it’s been postponed until our next trip to the County. The Old Greenhouse Ice cream Shop is definitely worth stopping by, and it’s exactly that; an old greenhouse turned into an ice cream shop lol which was quite cool. There was a beautiful park up the road also which overlooks the lake which seemed fab for picnics or for kids to run wild – another point worth noting about the County in general, at least where we were staying, was the sense of community and safety especially for children. Maybe because we’re parents now and our spidey senses are heightened haha but we got the jist of the town being an ‘everyone-knows-everyone’ type town where everyone looks out for each other as if they’re their own and it was really comforting to see. Anyone we also had any interaction with, both on the properties or in town, was extremely kind and friendly and we were met with smiles all around which is never a bad thing!

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to visit Prince Edward County and understand what all the hype is about, take this as your sign to just go! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience it for the first time with the Drake Motor Inn and the Devonshire as it truly was the cherry-on-top to our visit and would forever recommend the property to you, be it your first or third visit to the County. An affordable, chic unique stay, and Canada’s only Conde Naste Traveler 2020 Hot List, why would you stay anyplace else?!

Thank you to the exceptionally helpful and friendly staff at The Drake Motor Inn and Drake Devonshire for providing a complimentary stay. All opinions and views expressed are my own.