Is A Mark Warner Holiday The Most Relaxing Family Holiday Ever?

Levant Beach, Rhodes

I wouldn’t actually know – having not been on every other family holiday that exists – but I’d place money on it. As a parent of a three-year-old with boundless energy and a love of role play games (“You be Georgina and I’ll be Teacher”) the holy grail for me is a holiday where you can balance off fun family time with proper relaxation. There doesn’t seem much point in going on holiday if it’s going to be hard work, right?

And while there are an array of hotels and holiday companies which offer kids’ clubs and childcare, I’m willing to bet that not many do it as well as Mark Warner do.

I’ve just returned from a (blissful) four night break at Mark Warner’s Levante Beach resort in Rhodes. See a bit of what happened here. Admittedly, I didn’t take the three-year-old with me so I didn’t get to roadtest the childcare or experience the holiday from a truly family point of view, but I had my beady eye on everything, from the kids’ tea to the shallow children’s pool, and I was massively impressed.

The childcare staff at Mark Warner resorts all have to be fully NVQ or CACHE qualified and English speaking, but more than that, everyone who we met was super friendly and warm. You get the impression they never tire of working with kids. The childcare facilities are all bright, airy and filled with clean new toys and equipment. The kids are in age-appropriate rooms but they’re also taken out and about, down to the beach or onto the water to learn watersports (even the toddlers) meaning they’re not confined to their (super amazing) crèche rooms.

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Guests get a half day session of childcare each day for ages 2 and up included in the price of their holiday and two sessions a day for ages 7 and up. Which basically means, a holiday day would go something like this: Continue reading

A Flying Visit To Edinburgh

This week, I paid a flying visit to Edinburgh. It’s probably my favourite city in the UK – the beautiful buildings, the winding streets and alleys, the green spaces, the shops, the bars… I can’t think of another city that has my heart in the way Edinburgh does. It’s small enough that you can get a real flavour of it in a day, or if you have more time, book up a hotel (there are loads to choose from on Hotel Direct) and stay a few days. things to see and do in edinburgh

My 4.55am start meant that by the time I got to Gatwick Airport, I was ready for some caffeine…

Getting from Edinburgh Airport into the city centre is easier than ever now that the Edinburgh Trams are running. You could still opt to get the Airport Express bus into town, but I hopped on a shiny tram and whizzed into Princes Street with the joy of free wifi onboard. Wheeee!

Edinburgh Tram

I met my mum and after a quick cuppa in the cafe in Jenners (a department store that’s been there since 1838) our first stop was Calton Hill, where you get some amazing views of Edinburgh. You can stand at one side and see down to the Firth of Forth (even getting a glimpse of the Forth Rail Bridge in the distance) or from the other side, you can see Arthur’s Seat (which will forever more remind me of the book One Day).

Calton Hill

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Firth of Forth

arthurs-seat Continue reading

The Day My Three-Year-Old Stayed In A 5* Hotel

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Kids today, hey? *rolls eyes* London Edition Hotel family style package

That phrase is usually used when talking about kids wearing hoodies and tearing it up in a shopping centre or two, but I mean it in a ‘These kids! They don’t know how lucky they are!’ way. Yes, I fully realise this makes me sound 55. But it’s true.

There are so many things that my three-year-old has experienced in her short little life so far, that I didn’t experience until I was an adult. She’s been to the Royal Albert Hall (something I didn’t do until I was 22). She’s been abroad (something it took me until I was ten to achieve). She’s been to a festival (my first one was V97 when I was 18).

She has also now stayed in a five star hotel.

My posh hotel habit has had to go slightly on the back burner since having my daughter. Aside from the money aspect – we’ve been spending more on nappies, small boxes of raisins and entry to London Zoo than extravagant mini breaks – I’ve never considered 5* hotels as being particularly child-friendly. Until now, that is.

A few weeks ago, we headed into central London to stay at the London Edition. The Edition group of hotels is a new concept from Ian Schrager, the man behind The Sanderson in London, The Mondrian in West Hollywood and The Delano in Miami. He knows his hotel stuff. As well as being brimming with luxurious touches (and an awesome bar and restaurant… more on that later) the London Edition has a Family Style package which looks after the little ones as well as you.

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London Edition Hotel room

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London Edition hotel books

What the three-year-old loved…

She had attention lavished upon her from the moment we arrived. At check-in, the staff used her name and chatted to her, complimenting her on her Rapunzel dress. The fact that she had a room of her very own went down well (we were given a Loft room with a connecting room) and you should have SEEN her excited face when she realised she had her own bathroom (“If you need a wee, you can use your toilet. But if I need a wee, I’m going to use MY toilet”). Continue reading

Win 4 Tickets To OnBlackheath Festival

I was having serious Camp Bestival withdrawal symptoms this weekend – a year ago, we went to our first family festival together and it was utterly fantastic. But this weekend, while I was watching lots of people I know have an amazing time there (and quietly sobbing into a paper cup of wine for that genuine festival feel) I’m looking forward to another family friendly festival… and this one is much closer to home.

On September 14th, we’re heading to OnBlackheath. The inaugural festival on Blackheath Common in south east London is in partnership with John Lewis and sees Massive Attack and Frank Turner headline with performances from The Levellers, Aloe Blac, Grace Jones and Athlete.

There’s also going to be a real foodie presence with a farmers’ market and a cooking demo stage hosted by Gizzi Erskine and featuring a range of Michelin-starred British talent – all cooking up tasty creations for you to sample.

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For the younger festival goers, OnBlackheath promises a fabulous area designed specially for kids, with arts & crafts workshops, games and special performances. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

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Blackheath holds a special place in my heart – I lived there for three years in my 20s and loved mooching around the gift shops and drinking coffee outside the many cafes. The common is a beautiful space that I used to sit on (usually outside the Prince Of Wales pub if I’m honest, with a Bacardi Breezer in hand) and watch the kites flying by. I’m super excited to go to the festival – and giddy at the thought that it’s just a bus ride away from my house!

I can’t wait to put my floral hairband on (might get one for the three-year-old too) and soak up the atmosphere… and late summer sun hopefully.

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And you could be there too! OnBlackheath have given me four tickets for Sunday 14th September to give away. To be in with a chance of winning:

• Comment on this blog post, saying which act on Sunday 14th September you’d most like to see if you win

• For an extra two entries, follow @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweet the following ‘Win four tickets for @OnBlackheath festival over on @alisonperryblog’

• Fill in the Rafflecopter box below if you want your entries to count

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Not Another Mummy Blog or the Promoter.
2. One winner will receive four tickets for OnBlackheath, valid on Sunday 14th September 2014 only. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
3. The prize draw starts at 12.01am BST on 4th August 2014 and closes at 11.59pm BST on 29th August 2014.
4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post. Entrants can gain bonus entries by following @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway, then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
6. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value.
7. The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
8. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
9. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
10. The Promoter is: AKA, 115 SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, LONDON WC2H 8AF