Family life,Holidays

Ten travel essentials and how I’d love to be a #MarkWarnerMum

Holiday collage - Rainbeaubelle

Ferragudo beach

Family holidays – let’s keep it simple.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes the perfect holiday for me, and also what makes the perfect holiday for my children. I find the best family holidays – a bit like weekends – are those when there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

I no longer want to dwell on what family holidays used to be, when we were four and life was different. I want to focus on what our family holidays will look like now in our ‘new’ life. Not the one we chose, but the one we’re embracing all the same.

I want the children to have fun, see new places and have new experiences – but within all that I want to find time to recharge a bit too.

As a widowed single parent I spend so much of my time being switched on that I need to make time to switch off. Outnumbered two to one by my kids, my daily life revolves around making sure our family life runs like clockwork; that everyone gets to where they need to be on time, in clean clothes, and having eaten something remotely healthy. In my quest for family harmony I need to be a scheduler, a motivator, an alarm clock, a peacekeeper, a chef, a teacher and an entertainer.

Holiday collage - Rainbeaubelle

I just keep thinking, wouldn’t it be nice for some of that pressure to be taken off for a while, so we can all let our hair down together and enjoy some real well-deserved downtime?

A few months ago I wrote that I didn’t think I was brave enough to book a holiday abroad for just me, my seven-year-old Sam and my three-year-old Florence. We have travelled abroad together since Roger died, but we were with friends, not just the three of us. In other words, there were two adults rather than just one, which makes a massive difference!

Other than that, the only time we have holidayed on our own is a few days in Pickering, North Yorkshire and a night in the Holiday Inn!

Mood board close up - Rainbeaubelle

I think though, as my confidence builds and my positivity and determination to carry on living my life goes on, I might just be ready to do that solo trip.

When Mark Warner asked bloggers to think about their 10 travel must-haves, I started putting together my list – with a collage of things that make me think of happy holidays, taped to our playroom wall!

So here it is, my single parent wish list of the perfect family travel essentials, with a reminder of the object I chose to represent each one. I’ve added my Pinterest holiday board too, to give an idea of all the things I’d love our perfect holiday to be.

1. A beautiful destination | shells

Blue sky, soft sand and a clear sea are all key ingredients of my perfect holiday. There’s just something about warm sand in your toes, ice cream on the beach and swimming in the sea, isn’t there?

Florence in Benagil

2. Life made easy | flowers

Going on holiday should be a break for everyone, so I think if I went somewhere on my own with the children I’d like to cut down on the time I had to spend cooking, making packed lunches, all that sort of thing. We have previously been self-catering but I’d love to try a more catered holiday. I know the kids would love it too – the excitement they had over a hotel breakfast a few weeks ago was off the scale!

3. Activities for the kids | pencils and a llama

One of my priorities when planning a holiday is making sure there will be enough to do in the local area to keep the children entertained. Of course, if you’re on a sunshine holiday you have the beach and maybe a pool which will be a major source of activity, and skiing speaks for itself. But Sam and Flo are four years apart in age and they don’t always like to do the same things. This would be a major hurdle for me thinking of going away with them on my own, as it would be a balancing act to keep them both happy. Travelling with friends is one thing; travelling solo is another and it would be perfect if we could find activities nearby tailored to both my children’s ages.

Sam jumping in the pool

4. A perfect holiday wardrobe | sunglasses and jewels

Who doesn’t love buying a few new things for their holidays? For me that’s part of the whole looking forward to it process, and I’ve already got my eye out for some new summer dresses and swimwear. Not just for me, but for Sam and Flo too. Sam is never without his straw hat on holiday and Flo is a sucker for a floaty dress.

Jules and Flo at Benagil

5. Me time | my favourite pen

This one is a bit of a luxury one for me! Of course, holidays are all about having fun as a family but the idea of being able to grab the odd hour for myself, to maybe swim, go to a yoga class, have a massage or write, now that would be bliss! As Mark Warner holidays offer activities for the kids, it would give me the perfect opportunity to chill out – or finish writing another chapter of my book!

Pens and lipstick mood board close up - Rainbeaubelle

6. Pampering | my favourite lipstick

This kind of comes into the me time category but I thought it was such an essential for a perfect break that I’d give it its own slot. Mark Warner holidays often have spas where you can head off for a treatment while the children are being looked after. How amazing would that be?

7. Learning new things | notecard to write it all down

Holidays are a great chance to try new things; it was on holiday in Devon when Sam first tried surfing. He would love to give watersports another go, and so would I for that matter. I’d love to release my inner Olympian!

Me and Mine in the villa

8. Fun and friendship | seahorse memory tin

A perfect holiday would have to include having fun with friends, and if we didn’t travel with our own, it would be the best to make some new ones while while we were there.

9. Fab food | fish

For mama it would be seafood, seafood and more seafood washed down with a crisp white wine; for Sam and Flo, anything involving lots of pizza and ice cream would be their perfect dinner.

Team holiday selfie

10. Surprises! | everything!

Life would be boring without the odd surprise, and although when times were tough through my husband’s illness I have often longed for a boring life, nice surprises are among life’s essentials. Each holiday brings surprises, that’s the beauty of them!

So there it is, our ten perfect holiday essentials! I hope that makes me a good choice for this year’s #MarkWarnerMum as the kids and I would love to try including all these things into our next holiday.

What would your holiday essentials be?

x Julia

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  • Reply
    Heledd - Running in Lavender
    February 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Love this post!!!! You’d be a fab ambassador Julia. Keeping everything crossed for you xxx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Bath OilMy Profile

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      Thanks so much Heledd! Xx

  • Reply
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries
    February 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Awwwwww JUBARB!!!!!! What a GORGEOUS post!!!!!! I LOVE it. It’s perfectly you. I think Mark Warner would be crazy not to pick you and your two amigos to be ambassadors. It would be the best kind of holiday for all of you. Plenty to keep the littles amused — while you write your book — and plenty of opportunity to make some gorgeous memories together. Wishing you ALL the luck in the world — I’m rooting for you xxxxxxxx
    Caro | The Twinkle Diaries recently posted…Home Etc #87My Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    February 22, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Ahh this is fab Julia!! I love how you’ve done it, you would make such a great ambassador and I’d so love to see you and Sam and Flo enjoying the MW experience, I’m sure you’d get a bit of time to yourself, for pampering and writing. Such a lovely post xx

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks Hayley! It would be amazing wouldn’t it?! Xx

  • Reply
    February 22, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Yeah for this post full of all that makes you you! Beautiful photos and some beautiful writing as ever! Fingers crossed xxx
    Karen recently posted…6 Things to Do in Barcelona with KidsMy Profile

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks Karen! It made me think writing it, about what I want to do with our hols from now on! A bit of fun for everyone! Xx

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    February 22, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Julia I love this post it is so beautiful, you would make a wonderful ambassador, all the best of luck xxxx
    Sarah Christie recently posted…A Mark Warner Mum And Being Unable To Narrow Down A Travel Essentials ListMy Profile

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah! Xx

  • Reply
    Laura | Little Ladies Big World
    February 22, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Ah love this. And your mood board is so pretty! Good luck lovely xx
    Laura | Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Our French Adventure {Week Two}My Profile

  • Reply
    Steph Oakes
    February 22, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    What a lovely post Julia, I don’t know you personally but from reading your blog avidly, I know you’d make the perfect ambassadors and I wish you all the luck in the world. Mark Warner would be the ideal holidays for you all xx

  • Reply
    Wandermust mummy
    February 23, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Lovely list – nitnsure incould narrow my essentials down to 10 #hmcapturingmoments
    Wandermust mummy recently posted…What I learnt on the free Melbourne walking tour My Profile

  • Reply
    February 26, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Lovely post! As a widowed mum myself I know that holidays can be a bit of a nightmare and one of the worst things about adjusting to a “new life”. Holidays are “family time” so it’s hard to enjoy when someone is missing. This sounds like the perfect list and I agree with every one. Good luck! X

  • Reply
    Jenna Richards
    February 26, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Ahh this is the prettiest MWMum mood board I’ve seen. Such lovely photos and post. I really hope you get picked so that that you and your two gorgeous children can enjoy a holiday of a lifetime. xx

  • Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

    You would be a deserving ambassador, I so hope you get some chance to have some time to enjoy a holiday soon x

  • Reply
    Jane Batt
    March 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Massive congratulations. I hope you have a fabulous time and manage to build some new happy holiday memories.
    Jane Batt recently posted…Out of the Bedroom into the Vault for Bristol Travel MassiveMy Profile

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