Holidays are exciting but the actual travel and packing part can be really stressful for people. As a seasoned traveller for many years as a model I used to hop on a plane but kids are a game changer and the trick here is to plan, plan, plan. Here are my top ten tips for travelling with your family.



The first thing I would say is to travel as light as possible. There are baggage restrictions when travelling now so packing smart is important. If you are travelling somewhere with a washing machine plan on doing a wash a few days in and take half the amount of clothes. Pack a lightweight buggy like the Nuna Pepp from €355 of the Chicco lightweight stroller from €169.95 or the cosatto-supa-go-stroller-hoppit from €216.95. travel buggy, family travel;, travelling with kids, travel tips, alison canavan, be complete, holidaysTake your buggy right to the door. Most airlines now let you do this and it makes a huge difference


It’s so important to allow them to pack their own bags as it helps to make them feel important especially as they get older. If they have one bag to check in and a back pack that’s perfect. I find a backpack easier as their hands are free. You want to bring a variety of lightweight games and books and an IPad or similar can be a lifesaver.

travel buggy, family travel;, travelling with kids, travel tips, alison canavan, be complete, holidays, kids backpack, games, toys, ipadWe bring books, colouring, story cubes (great for the imagination) and we start with free games like I Spy, word association so like sky = cloud or the quiet game if your head needs a rest! I always keep the IPad till the bitter end.


Check in early with kids because lets face it travelling with kids can be like a jack in the box adventure. You just never know when something is going to pop up. I always check in online at home and I use my phone for all the boarding cards. Check and double check your seats especially with a large family to make sure you are together.

travel buggy, family travel;, travelling with kids, travel tips, alison canavan, be complete, holidaysIf you have a baby and are travelling long haul make sure you ask for the bulkhead seats but not with older kids as the armrests don’t come up on these seats meaning you can’t lift them and stretch out which happened to me on the way to South Africa. You should be able to board first with kids and I always wait to get off last and check for all the bits and pieces. Its less stressful and you don’t have people pushing you. One of pet hates when travelling is when people stand up and rush before the door is open on the plane.


Check and double check for Passports before leaving the house. I always make a copy of our passports, flights and my driving license and put them in a separate place so I have them in case of an emergency.


I always have an ID bracelet on James with all my details on it which I bought online at

travel buggy, family travel;, travelling with kids, travel tips, alison canavan, be complete, holidaysThey are reusable, waterproof, you can update them and also put important medical information on them. For wobblers I would use reins or buggy as airports are busy and it only takes a second for your little one to run off.


Jetlag is a tough one if travelling long distances with kids. I would try if possible to book your flights so that the long ones are through the night. Sometimes it can be easier to break up your flights with kids on long haul and have more breaks. Many airports have play areas so use them to get rid of that excess energy before a flight. Make sure they are full before a night flight so when you board you can help them to sleep with a bottle if they are younger as you take off. My American friend who travels a lot says her golden rule is to get up early when you arrive at your destination the next day and don’t sleep in.


As you can encounter everything from delays to lost baggage and diversions its important to pull out your Girl Guide skills and ‘be prepared’. I would bring 2 extra sets of clothes (long-haul or babies) for each child, wipes and plenty of food in case of vomiting incidents or toilet accidents. I had both once when James was small! Staying well hydrated is important for the whole family too as travelling can dehydrate you, which can be the cause of irritability, lethargy, dry skin and scratchy eyes. Not all drinks are created equally though so stay away from sugary drinks and stick to water. To keep bugs at bay I take Dr Bronners lavender organic hand sanitizer that has none of the nasty chemicals you would find in conventional ones. \

travel buggy, family travel;, travelling with kids, travel tips, alison canavan, be complete, holidays, dr bronners Diapers are bulky and widely available in most countries so bring what you need and enough for the first day or two and then buy some when you get to your destination.


Car seats are really important and in my opinion you simply must bring your own especially for babies. The driving, rules of the road and car safety rules can be very different abroad. You can check them in and most airlines allow these on free of charge.


For take off bring a bottle, drink or gummies if the kids are older for their ears to encourage swallowing. If you are breastfeeding feed your baby for take off and landing. This worked a treat when James was really small.


Travel insurance is a must! If you are travelling in Europe make sure you have an up to date EHIC card- European Health Insurance Card but James had a bad fall last year and it cost me so I will never travel without extra insurance again especially long distance. Along with this make sure you have all the medication your family needs and don’t rely on finding it abroad locally. I always take antihistamines with me just in case. Our suitcases got robbed from our hire car on the way to Malaga airport when we pulled in for something to eat. My advice here would be don’t to pull in for food on the way from or to the airport and never leave luggage in the car!!!

Finally enjoy yourself and try and lighten up when travelling. I used to get so stressed about everything but now If I find myself getting really stressed I remind myself that most of what happens when I’m travelling is completely out of my control so just relax, breathe and be.




Hooray you’re expecting now here’s a long list of things you can’t do! I remember being terrified as the nurse sprouted off nearly everything I lived on and what also felt like every food group. So what can you eat? Why will it harm your baby? And how did anyone survive years ago?


I’m going to simplify it for you and it’s important to remember to be sensible. We all know how bad sugar is now, so reducing your intake will help to balance hormones and moods and remember eating even a small amount of sugar kicks off the craving and you will just want more. You should also limit your sugar intake as sugar is obviously a problem for people with diabetes and who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.*(see below) I would also advise staying away from all refined carbohydrates and instead choose brown pastas, rice and breads.

meats and cheesesIf we look at cheese, eggs, meat, milk and fish, the common denominator here is to stay away from raw and uncooked foods. So don’t eat raw or undercooked eggs and avoid foods that contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise. Make sure all eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid, this goes for your omlettes too; make sure they are not runny as this prevents the risk of salmonella food poisoning.


Don’t eat raw shellfish as it can cause food poisoning and limit fish with a high risk of mercury like swordfish and tuna.


Don’t drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, including unpasteurized goats or sheep’s milk and don’t eat food that is made out of them either such as soft goats cheese. It is also advised to stay away from raw or undercooked meat and make sure you cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so there’s no trace of pink or blood. Take particular care of sausages and minced meat. Some countries advise pregnant women not to eat cold meats or smoked fish at all because of the risk that they may contain Listeria but the risk here is low.


Listeria however is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis and even a mild form of this infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby. Foods like Pate including vegetable pate and mould ripened soft cheeses such as brie, camembert and others with similar rinds such as chevre (a type of goats cheese) or soft blue veined cheeses, such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort can also contain listeria so it is advised to stay away from them too.


I remember being warned off Vitamin A when I was pregnant but it’s important to understand vitamin A. There are two types: preformed vitamin A, also called retinol or retinoids, and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A (which is used directly by the body) is found in animal products like eggs, milk, and liver. Provitamin A carotenoids (which the body converts into vitamin A) are found in fruits and vegetables.

It’s important during pregnancy not to get too much of the preformed vitamin A, which in high doses can cause birth defects and liver toxicity so stay away from liver and liver products but eat as much fruits and veg as you like as its important for your baby’s embryonic growth including heart, lung, kidney, eye and bone development and the circulatory, respiratory and central nervous systems.


Alcohol can also harm your baby. I had the odd glass of wine but to be honest just think about how it makes you feel. Good at the time but not great after so think of that little person growing inside you. The same goes for caffeine. You should limit it during pregnancy. Don’t have more than 200mg a day. High levels can cause babies to have a low birth weight and too much caffeine has also been linked to miscarriage. It is found naturally in some foods and is added to some soft drinks so read all ingredients.


Basically you need to eat a really good well balanced diet, take your omegas and vitamin D and give your little angel the best start in life as I do believe the foods we eat during pregnancy have a lasting effect even after they’re born.



1  Stick to prenatal vitamins of good quality. TERRANOVA have a great prenatal multivitamin complex      and even better there are no binders or fillers used €22.96

2  Take a good Omega 3 supplement. I recommend the Eskimo Omega 3 with vitamin E €24.99         

3  Take a good quality Vitamin D supplement. I recommend brands Terranova or Quest

4  Stay away from raw and undercooked foods including meats, fish (sushi), eggs (including mayonnaise) and raw milk

5  No liver or liver products

*Gestational diabetes is caused when the insulin in your body cannot do its job properly. The placenta is a system of vessels that passes nutrients, blood and water from the mother to her unborn baby. It also makes certain hormones that prevent insulin from working properly. This can affect about 5 in every 100 women causing gestational diabetes. Please speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Diet and lifestyle play a key role in controlling it.

le bon marche front curved

Paris is a really special place and this trip was my first time in paris not modelling. I started modelling there when I was 15. At that time it was daunting and very intimidating but this time 21 years later all I saw was beauty, both architecturally and in the people and cultural charm. I adore Parisian women, full of effortless elegance and style.

artisan truffe low res

We stopped by Le Bon Marche for lunch and it did not disappoint. The food isles are divine, food lovers heaven! We stopped to have lunch at a truffle bar. I adore truffles. Black, white, summer, winter- I love them all. On the current menu they were still using summer truffle as the winter one will not be out till the beginning of December. The white truffle they use is from Alba in Italy. She said the price for premium black truffle can reach up to €5000/6000 at which point I nearly fell off my chair!! I’ve always had expensive taste just a pity I can’t afford it!!

rocket risotto low res

I choose Risotto and as you can see it did not disappoint! The fresh truffle shavings were incredible. I love the peppery taste of rocket and I use it myself a lot at home.

low res close up

To top off my excitement there was truffle salt and truffle balsamic vinegar.


And yes “Le Bon Marche” next time i’m in Paris I’ll be back xx



nutribulletA couple of weeks ago I was sick of feeling sick and tired. Now, I have a ridiculous schedule and recently returned to college and of course my most important and favourite job as a mum of a toddler can be tiring too.

I’ve been juicing for years and have heard people raving about the Nutribullet so i decided to bite the bullet and see what all the fuss is about.

AMAZING is the only word I have to describe it for so many reasons. If you are time poor like me its fantastic as you simply just rinse in it record time with no fuss.

I also feel satisfied and full after my smoothies and the nutribullet allows me to add my spirulina, chia seeds, cacao nibs and much more. This means I’m getting really important nutrients like Omega 3 and my B Vitamins which are really important for your health and wellbeing. You are also getting the fiber with your nutribullet which helps to keep you regular.

I had a few disasters when i started out as I didn’t follow any recipes but now I’m having a blast! In this one I added:

A handful of spinach

1/4 cucumber

A handful of blueberries

A mixture of various seeds (you can buy mixed seeds) with goji berries and cacao nibs

1 full small avocado

2/3 frozen banana

cold water to the max line

It was creamy with a slight nutty/chocolatey taste and i feel full and fab!

On a more serious note though I have more energy since I have started drinking these smoothies. My cravings for sugar have gone down and i’ve reduced my coffee consumption dramatically. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m going in a few weeks.

Ali xxxx