Every year for the last three years I have waited for February with the same anticipation, knowing that the #MarkWarnerMum family ambassador programme would open and that I would throw my hat into the ring. For the last two, I have half heartedly entered, not wholly believing that I could actually win it. That I could actually be a #MarkWarnerMum. But you have to be in it to win it I told myself every year.
This year I watched the competition open and watched from the sidelines as the entries poured in, slowly but surely. Creative. Witty. Beautiful. Each like me, yearning to be one of this years lucky #MarkWarnerMum. Hell, I have been waiting since the competition closed last year for it to open again so that I could enter and have a chance of becoming a #MarkWarnerMum.
But something strange has been happening over the last few months. Something that has made me doubt myself as a blogger more than ever before, and so I continued to watch the entries from the sidelines as time inched closer to the competition deadline, reluctant to join in myself. Surely something will be better than nothing I thought as I pulled together my first entry, an epic fail and false start.
So I stopped thinking and started feeling and suddenly I had an entry worth throwing into the ring. An entry that I believe with all my heart, is #MarkWarnerMum worthy. Because our family are never more alive than when we are on holiday and that is what I realised when I created our mood board and video montage of our top 10 travel essentials. These are the ingredients to our perfect holiday, I hope you enjoy watching us come alive..
#1 Family Friendly Hotel
It all starts with the perfect family hotel. Nothing is more important when you have two little ones than a good hotel that you are happy to spend as much time in it, as you are out of it. Our holidays these days are all about the kids, although mum and dad want to have a good time too and that means staying somewhere that caters for families in every sense of the word. That means great hotel and room design that is as easy to use as it is to look at, and tasty food that is as nutritious as it is impressive. It means beach foraging activities for the kids and couples massages for mum and dad. It means feeling like you are in a home away from home.
There is nothing that makes me happier when I’m on holiday, than when I see the hotel staff talking to our little ones with genuine interest and delight, and treating them like the special little guests that they are. It’s what makes a hotel a great place to stay and makes you want to come back before you’ve even left.
#3 Perfect Pools
For me a great holiday is a beach holiday and that usually has to involve a swimming pool or two to jump into and lounge around at. There is a lot less lounging since we’ve had the little ones, but we still manage a fair bit of splashing, although its usually in the baby pool these days. But as long as our hotel has a great pool then we’re a very happy family.
Five or so years ago a perfect holiday was to someplace far flung and exotic, usually with friends. These days a perfect holiday is no less exotic, or necessarily closer (although it is far easier) but it is always with family. My little tribe. There is something rather special and magical about travelling once you have children of your own. Suddenly looking at the world through another lens. Theirs. The excitement of taking them somewhere for the first time, of showing them something for the first time, of them trying something new for the first time. Holidays would not be the same without my little family.
#5 Beautiful Beaches
For me a holiday would not be a holiday without a beach. Which is why when we very occasionally go on city breaks, they don’t quite feel like a holiday. They always feel like they are missing something and it’s probably a beach. I love nothing more than lieing on a sunny beach abroad, although much like the swimming pool, it rarely happens these days. Whilst we may visit a beach when we are on holiday, there is no guarantee anyone is going to be lieing on it, especially when your three year old is still scared of the sand. But I am hopefully that one day I’ll get to lie back on that beach. Eventually.
#6 Yummy Food
Good food is such an essential. Even more so now that we have a little family. Not only do we need food that appeals to us, the type of gluttonous food that you wouldn’t eat every day at home (because we all like to let loose a little on holiday right), but also food that appeals to the teeny tiny palates of little ones. I want options and I want choices, and I want things that are authentic but I also want things that I could eat at home. Basically I want the world.
#7 Ice Cream
A holiday would not be a holiday without oodles and oodles of ice cream. I’m not sure how much more there is to say about ice cream other than we love it, can’t get enough of it, and eat waaaaay too much of it when we are on holiday!
#8 Summer Sun
Our holidays have to be somewhere warm and sunny. For me a holiday would not be a holiday without sun. I love summer sun and seriously can’t get enough of it. I am never happier, home or abroad than when the sun is shining.
#9 New Experiences
Before the little ones came along the Mr and I would always spend our holidays out exploring the local places. Not that we have the little ones, we’ve found a good balance for us is spending some of our holiday in the hotel, relaxing in it or exploring and making the most of it, as well as spending some of our time out and about exploring the city, town or island that we’re in or on. But one of the most important thing to us on holiday is having fun, exciting and interesting new experiences as a family.
#10 Happy Children
As much as it is a holiday for the parents, the most important thing for us is having happy children at the end of each day and at the end of the holiday. Nothing brings a smile to my face like it does when I see happily exhausted and content little faces. That’s when I know that the months of planning, the hours of travelling and all the disrupted routines have all been worth it.
What are your top 10 travel essentials? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below. This is my entry for the #MarkWarnerMum blog ambassador programme.