Searching for the perfect holiday #MarkWarnerMum

February 19, 2016

We’ve travelled a lot in the past with holidays across Europe as well as far flung destinations such as Australasia and the Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Highlights include a Tahitian honeymoon, trekking the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand and sleeping in the Venezuelan jungle on a quest to capture Angel Falls. Nowadays, we’re always on the hunt for holidays that best suits our little family. But what does the perfect holiday actually look like?

The journey 

POD Travels - flight MW collageWhen booking a family holiday, the preference is often to book flights and accommodation independently or opt for a package. The latter is convenient, typically including flights, half-board accommodation and resort transfers. We’ve enjoyed chartered flights with British Airways in the past and at a sensible time too which ensures POD’s not too tired to make googly eyed monsters at 30,000 feet. She relishes the experience of travelling until she’s en route to the resort when a snooze is definitely in order!

The resort 

POD Travels - MW swimming collageThat feeling of apprehension washes over you when you first arrive at your resort. That’s quickly followed by a sharp intake of breath when you set sight on your surroundings. The sign of a great holiday is when it feels like it’s going to be amazing and its not even begun. The spacious, clean and comfortable room is tested briefly before swimming costumes, hats and suncream are pulled from suitcases. Feet are released from boots and placed into cool sandals where toes are finally free to wiggle. The towels in the bathroom are white and fluffy, the one within reach already grabbed by small hands.

The giggles commence just minutes later in the pool. There are water fights aplenty and somehow we purchase an inflatable whale which POD names Toffee. Following much hilarity, we explore the remainder of the resort before a shower and a welcome meeting. We listen to what’s available on resort and get the opportunity to talk to qualified staff about all the brilliant activities on offer. We make a beeline for the Head of Tennis as we’d booked a course before we left the UK.

The childcare 

POD Travels - MW childcare collageWe were apprehensive about the childcare facilities on resort but the kids clubs are all run by qualified British nannies. Catering for 4 months to 17 years, there were age appropriate activities for all. POD spent four mornings in her club while we played tennis – she had a ball. She got to experience the likes of sailing, kayaking and windsurfing as well as mixing with children her own age. Her water confidence was built to such an extent, she even swam for the first time! The photograph above is her “I’ve just swum on my own for the first time” face.

The activities 

POD Travels - tennis collage with textWe played tennis regularly before POD arrived so we were keen to pick up the game we love. It was only £80 for group tennis consisting of 4x one hour lessons with an LTA qualified coach. I cannot put into words how great it was to pick up a racket again. We got to play each other too with the POD Father joining the social tennis. POD had never attempted tennis before. She had a few lessons and it turns out she might be quite good – time will tell. Her coach deserved a medal for his patience – four year olds are not known for their concentration skills!

POD Travels - MW sailing collageThere were a whole host of watersports on offer including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, water skiing and paddle boarding. The POD Father embarked on a free group sailing session with a qualified RYA instructor and found his sea legs. He took POD out for a parent and child sail with an instructor too while I captured the action from the safety boat. There were also football and volleyball games played with well earned cold beers afterwards.

The food 

POD Travels - MW food collage with textAll the wonderful activities provided us with a healthy appetite but there was much food on offer so everyone was happy. You didn’t even get a look if you went back for seconds or put three different desserts on the same plate. Perhaps everyone did that. Sometimes POD and the other children would have dinner in their jimmy jammies so they could watch a DVD afterwards with their chums. Under the watchful eye of the British qualified nannies, she was well looked after if we had dinner as a couple. You forget that actually you do need time to find yourselves after becoming a parent.

POD Travels - MW collage 1Are you Mark Warner? 

Yes we are! We booked our first Mark Warner holiday before POD was a blink in our eye. Many people said Mark Warner holidays were just for families but we thought otherwise. We went for the tennis and played lots of it – from tennis academy and group tennis with qualified LTA coaches to playing each other and joining the socials. We ate like absolute kings. We told everyone how great Mark Warner was when we returned and promptly booked a second holiday with them for that same year. POD arrived on Christmas Day 2010. We always said we’d return to Mark Warner as a three because their resorts have the ideal set up for children. Last year we took two family holidays with Mark Warner and both were amazing. We can’t help but get stuck into all the activities and try new things. There’s still so much we haven’t tried yet too. We’re huge advocates of Mark Warner and recommend them to everyone – they’ve always provided us with the perfect holiday.

POD Travels - MW collage 2Storytelling through photographs 

Annie Leibovitz famously said “One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time”. This describes exactly how I feel about photography. I have a passion for getting the best shot even if it means lying in pool water, resting my cheek on court or having a bush poke my ear. I’m rarely seen without a camera as you never know when that perfect moment will occur. I adore telling stories through photography and love making people really want to visit the places I’ve captured. Perhaps that’s why I wrote a few too many posts about Mark Warner holidays on my parent blog and here on POD Travels. We made a little video that contains a few of our favourite photographs – the second half is the best!

There’s one last thing to mention – skiing! We’ve not skied for a while now but we always had the best time. POD has never skied and she’d absolutely love it – she’s up for anything! Here’s a short post summarising what our first skiing holiday as a three might look like. We’re thinking ski school, lots of laughs and way too many photographs.

We’d relish the opportunity to be a fab photographer blogger for Mark Warner Holidays. This is our entry to be a #MarkWarnerMum. 

 

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  • Notmyyearoff February 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    It sounds so wonderful and the childcare bit would be so important to me if we went with E as he’s only tiny. Lovely photos!! Good luck lovely xx

    • Charly Dove February 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Oh it would be perfect Tas – they’d both love it. Thank you so much and good luck yourself too x

  • Pinkoddy February 19, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    And this, my dear friend, is why I didn’t enter for photography lol. You always take such amazing photographs and I love the way you have used them to not only tell a story but to demonstrate just how important the right shot is.
    Best of luck.

    • Charly Dove February 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Haha you crack me up but thank you very much, that’s very kind of you. We love Mark Warner holidays – they work really well for us not being sit on the beach types!

  • Izzie Anderton February 19, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    The perfect holiday takes on an entirely different definition when you have small children doesn’t it?! It sounds as though Mark Warner have really thought of everything. Good luck x

    • Charly Dove February 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Oh it really does Izzie and Mark Warner certainly make your holidays. The resorts are just lovely, the activities great and all the staff we’ve come into contact with have been excellent. Gone are the days of changing money in a Caracas car park LOL!

  • Stephs Two Girls February 19, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Oh I would so love to go on an MW holiday! Just not sure I can ever convince my other half, sniff… Good luck!

    • Charly Dove February 22, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Oh Steph they do excellent holidays, you must convince him! And thank you 🙂

  • karen February 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Love this!! We’ve applied too, fingers crossed xx

    • Charly Dove February 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Thank you so much Karen, we’d love to work with them more closely. Fingers crossed to you too 🙂

  • Ness February 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    What fabulous times you have had on holiday over the years. I hope you get the chance to further your travels this year.

  • Wave to Mummy February 20, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Wow it sounds like you really know all there is to know about Mark Warner 🙂 So would make a perfect ambassador. I’m going to wish you loads and loads of luck (even though I entered in the same category ha ha) because I think this post is just wonderful – makes me want to book my own MW holiday already! 🙂

    • Charly Dove February 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Oh thank you so much, what a lovely thing to say. We love Mark Warner, we recommend them to everyone! Best of luck to you too 🙂

  • Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com February 20, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Good luck Charly!! I do love this post – great idea, having the pics of the run-down tennis court etc. You still manage to make them look beautiful….

  • Kizzy February 20, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Loving reading all these posts as entries. Fingers crossed you get on well in the competition

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill February 20, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Good luck with your entry Charly, you’d be a great photographer blogger. I loved your comparison of the old tired resort image to the sparkling images taken at your previous Mark Warner holidays. Do treat us to some great new photos from your 2016 holiday if you get it!

  • Emma February 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Aw good luck Charly, you would make a fab MW blogger! That first plane is the stuff of nightmares! 😀

  • Cass@frugalfamily February 21, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Amazing photos – you’d be perfect for this as you really bring your pictures to life x x

  • Alice February 22, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Good luck with the comp. Loved the photos. Look forward to seeing more when you win the holiday!

  • Sonia February 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    What a wonderful post! Good luck with your entry x

  • HelpfulMum February 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    What gorgeous photos! You would make a fabulous ambassador for Mark Warner.

  • Keri-Anne February 23, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    every post that i have read about MW holidays as been positive. I have read amazing things about the child care facilities too and the hotels always look so wonderful!!I hope we get to experience it one day x

  • Phoebe @ Lou Messugo February 24, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Loving your selection of photos and how you displayed them, where did you find the empty pool? You’d make a great MW photographer, good luck!