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.

childcare-mark-warner-rhodes

 

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

Things That Are Making Me Smile This Week

Buying a new roll of pretty washi tape, reading a new book with my three-year-old, actually making it to the gym every morning for a week rather than talking myself out of it. These are all things that make me happy. It’s funny how little things can make you smile, isn’t it?

This week, these things are making me smile. It might seem daft, but here we go…

 

nice--things

The swimming costume was a sales purchase from Marks and Spencer. I couldn’t resist the bold print – and sshh don’t show it to my daughter because it’s for kids age 5-6 so she’s got at least a year until she can wear it!

Next, a gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M. One of those spur-of-the-moment purchases after seeing it discarded on a pile of pants near the till. Only £2.99 yet will bring my daughter a whole heap of joy when she wears the crown at her 4th birthday party later this month.

Gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M Continue reading

I’m Not That Kind Of Mum… Am I?

Starting school

When we have children, we gradually work out what kind of parent we are. We read books and magazines, read blogs, listen to experts, chat to friends, and it all helps us form an idea of the kind of mum we are.

  • Cloth nappies or Pampers lover? (Eek sorry environment! We had disposable nappies)
  • Pureeing purist or Ella’s Kitchen fan? (I was both, but definitely veered towards my pal Ella, as time went on)
  • Co-sleeper or the mum who says ‘back to your own bed!’ (I’m firmly in the latter camp)
  • CBeebies celebrator or telly ban enforcer? (Praise be to the telly box, I say)

Tiger mums! Attachment parenting! Stay at home mums! Helicopter parenting! *head spins and falls off*

Of course, there is no right or wrong, with all of these choices. They’re just decisions we make every day – we weigh up all the options and our circumstances and make a judgement based on what feels right. And even though I’ve been doing this ‘mum thing’ for nearly four years now, I’m finding that I’m still learning and discovering what kind of mum I am. This week, I learned that…

Apparently I’m the kind of mum who is upset about my daughter starting primary school

Nothing unusual about that, you might say. Until I tell you that my daughter isn’t starting primary school for a WHOLE YEAR. Yet, here I am, feeling incredibly sad at the thought. This week, I’ve been busy working at my laptop and a five minute check of Facebook (like you don’t do that too…) has left me welling up – all those little four-year-olds wearing a uniform, shoes polished and hair brushed neatly. Down our street, I see local children heading off to their first day, hand in hand with their mummy or daddy. They’re just so young. And that will be my daughter this time next year.

But I’m not the kind of mum who doesn’t want her child to grow up. If anything, I’m the opposite. When my daughter was a baby, I willed time to move faster so that I could have a fun toddler to spend time with rather than a ‘I’m giving nothing back to you’ baby (and if I’m being honest with you, so that I could escape my miserable PND-tinged maternity leave existence and get back to work). When other mums said things like “My baby’s growing up too fast!” I would smile and nod sympathetically and say, “Yes, mine too!” but inside I was punching the air and thinking “Isn’t it GREAT?”

And actually, I kind of stand by that feeling – every day, week and month, my three-year-old is learning and developing and it is amazing to see that happen. I love having chats with her and being surprised at what she knows (the other day we were talking about strangers and out of the blue, she said, “You can talk to strangers when you’re with your mummy and daddy but you can’t speak to strangers if you’re not with your mummy and daddy” and I could have KISSED her with sheer delight).

But apparently, I’m the kind of mum who is upset about her daughter starting school – a whole year in advance. Who even knew that was a thing?

 

 

My Little Bird By Jools Haul

Gorgeous retro kids' clothing from Little Bird by Jools

If you read fashion and beauty blogs you’ll be aware of the concept of a “haul” – it’s basically blogger speak for ‘hey, look at the cool stuff I just bought!’ Us bloggers are proper show offs. We love to talk about our lives, take photos of everything and harp on about pretty/cool stuff we have. Here is uber blogger Zoella showing off a homeware haul (if my kitchen and bedroom looked that nice, I’d show it off too) and here is beauty blogger Essie Button with a beauty haul from a trip to Sephora in California. Oh – by the way – if you’ve never heard of those bloggers, that’s OK. But you should know they’re as famous as Beyonce and Rihanna put together. So if you want to feel down with the kids, check out their blogs.

But back to me….

I had a proper splurge this week on clothes for the three-year-old. She’s not short of clothes – I’m the first to admit that – but she has a whole month of birthday parties coming up, including her own one, so I thought I’d treat her to some new outfits. I popped into Mothercare on my way back from the gym and bought her three outfits from the gorgeously retro Little Bird By Jools range. Which is your favourite?

Retro clothing from Little Bird By Jools at Mothercare

Cute reversible bag for girls from Little Bird by Jools

Retro red shoes from Little Bird By Jools

Denim dress, £16

Bag, £6

Socks, pack of five, £6

Shoes – old season – similar available here in blue or here in red

1970s style girls' dress from Little Bird by Jools

HOW cute are these Little Bird By Jools socks?

Orange dress, £16

Bag, £6

Socks, pack of five, £6

Shoes – old season – similar available here in blue or here in red

Gorgeous little bird by jools red skirt

Hello Bye Bye t-shirt, £8

Red skirt, £14

Bag, £6

Socks, pack of five, £6

Shoes – old season – similar available here in blue or here in red