Why Family Holidays Are Important (And Our Family Holiday Essentials) #MarkWarnerMum

What makes a good family holiday for you? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and I truly believe that family holidays are a rare chance for us to reconnect. We lead such busy lives – rushing around getting work done, getting the six-year-old to her gymnastics class on time, remembering to fill in school trip forms, doing homework – it’s baffling how we actually get it all done.

Take today, for example. Mr P left for work before 6.30am, after a snatched 90 second conversation with the six-year-old (in which she relayed – in full – the convoluted story she made up at school yesterday as part of Book Week). Then I poured the six-year-old some Bran Flakes and drank a big mug of tea – within minutes, both of us were staring at screens. Me, looking at my iPhone, scrolling through Twitter, catching up on BBC News. Her, switching between CBBC and Netflix. We chatted a bit as I plaited her hair for school and brushed her teeth (although it’s always a rather one-sided conversation when one of you has a mouth full of toothpaste). The school run brought no chance for chatting because the six-year-old was on her scooter – a small dot up ahead of me as she raced her friend. Since then, my head has been in a laptop, writing, making lists, calling the council about our parking permit, putting off going to the supermarket to buy groceries and World Book Day costumes – consumed by work and life admin.

So family holidays are a chance to stop. A chance to disconnect from real life, reconnect with each other… and breathe.

For the first day of the holiday, we’re often still caught up in real life – heads swirling with thoughts of work or school. But by day two…. that’s when our shoulders start to relax. And I’m fairly sure it’s not just because of the cocktails we’ve been drinking.

I love those moments that end up sticking in your mind, long after the holiday has ended – the feeling of hot sand underfoot, water rippling over your toes, collecting shells and pebbles for sandcastles, pushing Mr P into the pool when he least expects it, giggling until our stomachs hurt when the six-year-old tries to cheat (again) at a card game, yet pleads innocence.

Do you ever find yourself looking at your family members and having a slightly out of body experience, where you think “Oh wow! I have a husband/partner and a child!”? For me, that’s a sign of being completely in the moment – of being aware of who you’re with and the time you’re spending together.

So it’s really important that a holiday destination is geared up for maximum quality family time – the easier it is for us to reconnect as a family, the better.


Have a little watch of this video where I chat a bit more about these all-important family holiday ingredients…



Of course, there are also essentials that we take with us on a holiday, to ensure it goes smoothly. When I say “essentials”… I may have a different interpretation of the word to other people, considering the fact that there is a bottle of gin pictured.

For me, holiday essentials include (clockwise from top left) a cool hat for keeping the rays off my delicate head, jazzy sunglasses that I’d probably only ever wear abroad where no-one knows me, a passport (useful to get abroad – although I have had a FEW occasions where I’ve turned up at an airport without one…), a fab summer frock (this one is a pretty off-the-shoulder denim number), a personalised luggage tag, a tasseled clutch for the evenings, a good book for poolside relaxation, GIN (I wouldn’t take this with me, it’s just to illustrate what I’d be ordering from the bar) and a bright coral nail polish – the colour that just screams HOLIDAY!

I also asked the six-year-old to tell me which items are essential for a holiday…

She chose (clockwise from top left) a jar of Nutella! Of course! Isn’t this everyone’s holiday essential? What she means is that on holiday, she gets to eat Nutella for breakfast every day (at home, it’s restricted to being a weekend treat), her sun hat, a book (she is really into Roald Dahl at the moment and is switching between Matilda, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox), her swimming costume for pool splashing, colouring pens for keeping her busy on the journey, a painting to illustrate fun activities in a kids’ club, her headphones so she can have some downtime watching some CBBC downloads, and her passport.

So, come on, tell me what are your family holiday essentials and how do you reconnect with your family, when on holiday?

This post is an application for the #MarkWarnerMum Ambassador Programme. As someone who is already a huge fan of Mark Warner Holidays it would be fab to work with them in 2017! 




  1. March 1, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    This is SO true Alison. Family holidays for us are definitely about reconnecting and enjoying experiences together, away from the daily grind of life and chores and work. Some of my strongest childhood memories are from holidays to France with my family which is why I’m so keen to recreate our own family experiences now I’m a mum myself. Love all the colour and happiness in these photos. Also love that G thinks a pot of Nutella is a holiday essential! Ha!

    • Alison Perry
      March 1, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      haha am I a mean mum for only letting her have it at the weekends?! I can tell from your videos and photos that your kids LOVE your holidays in France, so you’re on the right track, Molly.

  2. March 1, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    I think for me holidays are a lot about food. That sounds a bit silly, but I do give quite a lot of thought to what we are going to eat. (I love eating!) Take this weekend for instance we are going away and I have already booked restaurants for Friday and Saturday and planned one breakfast!

  3. Aileen
    March 1, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    I have to agree with pretty much everything you have said. Last year was our first proper family holiday where it was just the 3 of us. The 3 holidays before, we had stayed at friends/family and although loved our time away from home, it was always quite busy. Last year we stayed at a Haven Holiday Park in Yorkshire (I had my reservations but it was awesome) and being just the 3 of us was so much fun. I didn’t have to do any washing, cleaning, hoovering, watching the clock and my husband had to do basic cooking (scrambled eggs in the morning and maybe sticking some picnic style food out at night) and it was wonderful. Lots of playing, running on the beach, paddling in the sea (it was about 33 degrees one day), eating lots of food, partying at night (the disco was cheesetastic but a good laugh) and wine and beer for the adults in the evening. I have never felt so relaxed coming back from a holiday. I had similar feelings on the train journey to London one year. It takes about 8 hours from Aberdeen to Kings X and I really enjoyed that 8 hours with my daughter and husband, playing games, singing songs (the other passengers loved us) and just had fun. So much fun 🙂

  4. March 1, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    This is such a lovely post, and I’m glad it’s not just me who likes a few cocktails on holiday!

  5. March 2, 2017 / 12:14 am

    I was so absorbed in your chatty writing style about your morning routine and how and when you relax when you finally go on holiday that I didn’t want it to end. I’ll have to read a few more posts as you write in such a chatty way it really sparks my imagination and makes me feel as if I am there. 6:30 though ouch! We do the exact same thing. Me on my phone and Aaron on the Netflix we’ve had for a couple of months now. I have to watch your video xxx

  6. March 2, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Fab post Alison, we’re the same, always running here there and everywhere, so holidays are definitely a time to unwind.

  7. March 2, 2017 / 8:24 am

    This is so true, I love going away because it’s one of the rare times I manage to prise laurie away from his work. Xx

  8. March 2, 2017 / 9:26 am

    I love this Alison, you are so right, holidays are all about reconnecting and being together. Even though Jon and I both work from home sometimes we can literally just co-exist without even realising. This post is making me crave summer. I agree that coral nail polish is a must for holidays! We loved Mark Warner when we went and I think your family would just be the best ambassador for them. x

  9. March 2, 2017 / 10:45 am

    Such a brilliant post, Alison. We are all so busy and I agree, holidays are the perfect way to reconnect, turn off technology and slow down! You’ve motivated me to get cracking and book my next break! x

  10. March 2, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    “Consumed by work and life admin..” Isn’t that so true? And so sad?! That basically we’re spending our lives doing admin, to all intents and purposes. Definitely a reason to go on holiday if ever there was one!
    Totally agree on UNO. We take that and a solitaire game and it keeps us busy forever when the weather is bad, or we just want an extra glass of wine on deck in the evening.

  11. March 2, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    A jar of Nutella! Of course! A holiday essential for anyone surely?

  12. March 2, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    This post literally made me yearn for that family time that you only seem to really get on holiday! Last year we went to France for a month but my husband was working and so we cannot wait for a real holiday this year to switch off and be together x p.s good luck x

  13. March 3, 2017 / 3:48 am

    This was a great article! Really great read for me right now trying to plan and think about our family holday!

  14. March 3, 2017 / 9:02 am

    Great balance of ideas, family activities are so much a part of holidays. Things that appeal to everyone. Those are things that make holiday memories. My boy loves playing table tennis with us on holiday (I’m hopeless). His main priority is swimming, it keeps him happy for hours and hours.

    I’d love a bit of me time. *sigh*

  15. March 3, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I agree with this so much, I have been lucky enough to grow up in a family where my mother was an expat so we often travelled to Europe. I know a lot of people are not so lucky but even staycations are a great way to reconnect as a family as everyone needs a break from the daily grind

    Laura x

  16. March 4, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    LOVED watching your film chickie! And I wholeheartedly agree with the disconnecting from real life/reconnecting with your family sentiment too. I’ve so enjoyed the whole Mark Warner experience — I don’t think I would have considered them before being picked for the ambassadorship. Since we’ve been, I can say that we’re well and truly hooked. They’ve got 4 new fans for life!! GOOD LUCK with your entry — I think you’d be a fab ambassador!! Everything crossed for you! 🙂

  17. March 23, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    I TOTALLY agree, family holidays are such a special time! It’s the only time we really and truly switch off as a family- no cooking, cleaning, ironing etc. to do.

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