I’ll be spending a week in Tuscany – split between the hilltop towns, vineyards and beaches of the Maremma and Val d’Orcia – with my husband and three tiny children. There will be pool time, walks through the countryside, bike rides along the coast… and lots of pasta. Sadly, most of my suitcase will be dedicated to my children’s vast piles of “essentials”. 

HTSI deputy editor Beatrice Hodgkin with her family
HTSI deputy editor Beatrice Hodgkin with her family © Christian Page
The town of Sorano in the Maremma
The town of Sorano in the Maremma © Riccardo Spila/4Corners

Ally Capellino Fin backpack

Ally Capellino Fin waxed cotton backpack, £325
Ally Capellino Fin waxed cotton backpack, £325

It is with profound sadness that I accepted that my need for a backpack is greater than my dislike of them. I found this chic one by Ally Capellino that manages to be both stylish and fit all the gubbins that sadly seem vital on day trips with my children. It is also an airport godsend. Ally Capellino Fin waxed cotton backpack, £325, allycapellino.co.uk


BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches

BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches, £13
BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches, £13

Essential oil-infused stickers are my go-to for keeping the mozzies away from my kids. I stick them everywhere – on clothes, backpacks, buggies and travel cots. I’ve always used Mosquitan (£8, jojomamanbebe.com) which fill the air with an intense lemon for days, and this year I’m adding The Natural Patch Co to the kit, because they have faces and animals on and my kids love that kind of gimmick. BuzzPatch Mosquito Repellent Patches, £13, naturalpatch.co.uk


Kemi Telford Tokunbo dress 

Kemi Telford Tokunbo dress, £205
Kemi Telford Tokunbo dress, £205

There are an alarming number of stipulations for my holiday dresses: to work whether I am poolside, strolling a hilltop town, or riding a bike; to be patterned enough to hide the child-inflicted stains that invariably arrive five minutes after I put it on… and which attract compliments. Kemi Telford’s round-necked, billow-sleeved midi dresses do the trick. Kemi Telford Tokunbo dress, £205, kemitelford.com


Child’s Farm 50+ SPF Sun lotion spray

Child’s Farm 50+ SPF sun lotion spray, £12
Child’s Farm 50+ SPF sun lotion spray, £12

My kids hate me applying their sun-tan lotion, especially a factor 50 that’s thick and takes an age to rub in. They shout at me marginally less for using this spray, which is light, easy to rub in, and is made from naturally derived ingredients that are kind on their skin and eyes. I usually pinch some for myself too. Child’s Farm 50+ SPF sun lotion spray, £12, childsfarm.com


Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in beso, £17
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in beso, £17

This stay-on, ultra-intense red lipstick is pasta proof, pool proof and generally makes me look more glamorous than I actually feel. It keeps me sane. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in beso, £17, stila.co.uk


Hydracy water bottle

Hydracy water bottle, $24.97
Hydracy water bottle, $24.97

I’m pretty much starting a second career as a professional family water-carrier and hydrator. A friend suggested these from Hydracy. I like them because they don’t have that stupid plastic tube in the middle, which always gathers a slimy coating (and inevitably gets lost); the nozzle is somehow very satisfying to drink from; and they lock – which make my leak-stained bags happy. Hydracy water bottle, $24.97, hydracy.com


Subea kids’ goggles

Subea kids’ mask, £12.99
Subea kids’ mask, £12.99

The strap on these kids’ masks is stretchy fabric instead of that horrid tough plastic that catches on hair and inevitably causes tears. Perfect for hours of splashing around in a sunny pool. Subea kids’ mask, £12.99, decathlon.co.uk

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