Anyone who knows my family will know just how important travel and holidays are to us. My husband and I even did our honeymoon BEFORE getting pregnant and getting married – reverse style! We travelled the world and blogged the whole way around– in fact that was what kick-started my blog Dinky Thinks. After blogging as a couple, I decided that I wanted something of my own.
But I digress from the subject in hand! … family holidays.
When I heard that the fantastic Mark Warner were looking for Ambassadors for their 2015 programme, it was time to get my thinking cap on as to what would be our perfect holiday.
When I think about my experiences of travelling with my husband, I see new food, old culture, walking for hours on end, haggling and smiling whilst communicating with the locals, then drinking cocktails and devouring books about the next place we are heading to. I know that I want to share the excitement of travel and new experiences with Chiplet, but we might not be quite there with him seeing the mad sights of India (thats in the pipeline for 2020 though).
If I asked Chiplet what he would like to do at the moment – his answer would more than likely involve dinosaurs, racing cars or biscuits… all of which are available the world over! My husband I am sure would like some peace, sunshine and good cold beer! For me, the perfect family holiday is one where we 3 spend quality time together in new experiences and find the time to notice the little things that we miss during the everyday grind of life at home – oh and a chance to sit and watch the sun go down…. every single night. So I have picked 3 holidays we have had together in the past 2 years to really get down to the nitty gritty as to what matters on our family holidays.
France – As a child, I spent many a happy family holiday in the south of France where my uncle lived. Sadly, he passed away when I was pregnant with Chiplet. We went over to scatter his ashes when Chiplet was 5 months old, I was still feeding him and not keen to fly so we boarded the Eurostar with my Dad and my brother and had a blast on the way down. This was our first experience of keeping a baby safe from the sunshine and boy was it hot. I remember as a child making the long coach journey to Marseille complete with travel sickness and arriving at the calanque of Sormiou and being amazed every single time by how beautiful it was. I can still see my Mum and Dad and their relaxed faces, eating fresh pizza and munching on olives whilst they chatted to the adults and drank burgundy and my brother and I played with the other children and tried to push our bedtime as late as possible. Going to say goodbye to someone so special to me made this a unique holiday, but unlike my Uncle’s funeral which had taken place under very stressful circumstances, this was a chance to say goodbye in the place that meant most to him. In and amongst a very emotional weekend, we found time to be together as a family and to enjoy what really matters, which is the joy of sharing memories and making new ones. Chiplet was not so thrilled with the slightly chilly Mediterranean sea on his bottom but he just loved being so sociable with all the friendly faces he saw.
Best Bits – culture, cuddles, amazing vistas, sociability and super seafood
Portugal – A honeymoon with a baby… an interesting concept indeed! We really didn’t know where to go with Chiplet in tow as for years and before we got pregnant, we had originally planned to go to Nepal – we thought that might be a little long haul for a 1 week holiday with a 10 month old! If only I had known about Mark Warner then, the decision would have been made for us! We ended up in a villa in Portugal, which was lovely but probably a tad bigger than we needed for the three of us. After a manic year and a lovely wedding, we needed some R&R and to have nothing on our minds but each other. I was still suffering with some post pregnancy anxiety and found it difficult to totally switch off to the holiday and rest. But this was just the three of us and to be honest, I don’t think we can say hand on heart that we had ever experienced a full week with just us and no visitors, family members, appointments, work or responsibilities to deal with. And once I had left some of my anxiety at the bottom of a few glasses of Vino Verde, my Husband had found the villa piano and Chiplet had snuggled into his travel cot, we found the time to sit on the roof and watch the sun go down, every single night – I can’t remember appreciating a quiet sunset quite so much in a long time.
Best Bits – Warm sea, tapas for the toddler, chilling together, dipping in the ocean, watching the waves.
Brighton – A traditional British seaside holiday was just what the doctor ordered after our very expensive year and we were lucky enough to have friends who lent us their apartment for the week. With a fully mobile boy in tow this time, we needed space… space for him to explore and enjoy the fresh air and the new experiences. We had no timetable and no place to be and didn’t give anything a second thought until we got there and we felt so relaxed for it. When I was a child, I remember going to the Yorkshire coast with my family and staying in our very own caravan. I felt so proud to be towing our caravan along and setting up our home for the week. Those windswept beaches still instill deep and happy memories for me. My Nanna often came with us and she would forever tutor me in how important it was to put your winnings from the penny drop in a separate pocket and not touch them (yeah right). Chiplet seemed to love the penny drops as much as me, but to my dismay did try and ‘help’ some of the other people in the arcade by stealing their winnings! He made friends at a wedding we went to and I really noticed how independent and confident he was becoming. He was still not so sure about the sea itself, but loved the pebbly beach, which we walked on every day.
Best Bits – Friends, space, salty kisses, being silly, sundowners at the beach bar, riding the rail
I want our holidays to be the best bits from my childhood memories and from my Husband’s…. where bedtime is thrown out the window, we eat food that we have not had to cook ourselves and we look at each other and remember exactly why we are so lucky to have each other.
So from 3 holidays, I can boil it down to 3 things – SPACE to play, explore and relax, TIME to build new memories and FAMILY because that is what we will always cherish. I just hope 3 will be our magic number as we become Mark Warner Ambassadors for 2015 (*crosses everything)
This is my entry into the Mark Warner Ambassador Programme for 2015 to be part of their amazing team for 2015. Especially after reading the blogs from their 2014 ambassadors.
If you are interested, you can see here how to enter yourself…. good luck everyone!