The Weekes family

Mark Warner are on the lookout for their 2015 Family Ambassadors. They are choosing five families to test their multi award winning ski and sun family friendly holidays.

A tough gig …

So along with the rest of the blogosphere it is now my job to tell Mark Warner why I should be considered as a #markwarnermum and this is the bit I come unstuck. You see I would really, really love to be a Family Ambassador for Mark Warner and report back to you before, during, after and throughout the year but how do I convince them? How do I make them see what I feel in my heart?

Sigh.

When I started this blog way, way back in Jan 2010 I wrote a bucket list of places I’d like to go to in the world. It hasn’t changed much, Mexico is still high on the list as is the whole of South America.

In fact I don’t think there are many places I wouldn’t like to visit but when you have a family your travel requirements change, Puebla and Machu Picchu take the back burner and something for everyone is on the search list.

In order to enjoy a holiday each member of your tribe must be happy and that’s where Mark Warner excel.

Let’s take a look at each of our requirements….

Mum (AKA me)

mari and twins

Holiday time is relax for me. I switch off as much as possible. I take books on my Kindle, I take some needlework. I take my smartphone and iPad so I can share our moments with friends and family back home (if i can find WiFi). I take my camera and my camcorder and spend most of my time recording the fun moments. There is nothing nicer than sitting in cold December and making your next year’s calendar with the wonderful photos you have taken.

I love to watch dad kick back and relax and I love watching the girls fall asleep with smiles on their faces and dreams in their hearts after another great day.

I thought it would be good to hear what the girls had to say on the subject so I asked them

What does mummy like doing when we’re on holiday?

Read a book

Play on your iPad

You like watching us swimming.

Wine

Salad (I do eat more than salad!)

You like to make up our beds and clean our room whilst we play in the park (?)

 

Dad

Paul and the girls Guernsey

Dad spends his entire year working in Canary Wharf in a skyscraper that looks out over London and the Olympic Park. He doesn’t get to enjoy that view much as he’s always working hard. He spends most of the year dreaming of where to take his family next.

Dad LOVES the sun, he lives for the beach and the sunshine, when he’s there he can be found digging massive complicated sandcastles with trenches that run water in from the sea. Dad loves to kayak, he takes the girls with him rowing from one side of the bay to the other. I know because I watch through my big sunglasses from my sun lounger.

Dad loves to swim. Dad always says that wherever we go there must be a swimming pool as he knows his girls are happiest in a pool jumping, diving, splashing, swimming and having lots of fun, so much fun they don’t get out until their lips are blue and their teeth are chattering.

What does daddy like doing when we’re on holiday?

Swimming

Playing with us

Beer

Cooking burgers on the BBQ (King of the BBQ my hubby)

He likes to watch us sleeping (how do they know this? They should be sleeping)

Helping us make sandcastles

 

The Twins

pirates twins

The twins are giggly 6 year old girls who enjoy each others company one moment and then fight like cat and dog the next. They are well behaved; sometimes shy, sometimes not. Sometimes pushing the limits making us raise our voices and throw them ‘the look’. Sometimes snuggling up to us and making our hearts melt.

They are our joy. They are our life and we are happy to do whatever it takes to make them happy.

They enjoy school and go to after-school clubs including swimming and ballet. They LOVE Strictly Come Dancing and always write the votes in their books to check on the judges. The latest club is Recorder club, this is notes A and B, just for you. Do enjoy :)

I asked the twins what they like doing when they are on holiday …

Going to the park

Going swimming

Playing with our dolls and teddies

Being silly

Building sandcastles with really long trenches

Surfing on our bellyboards

Ice cream

Apple juice/water/milk

What do you like to eat girls? Pasta, squirty cream, chocolate, sweets, strawberries (in that order!)

 

So Mark Warner, please take us into consideration, we’d really love to be your ambassadors with all our heart.

Twins woolacombe bay devon

The minute our Christmas tree goes up and all the lights are working, chocolates hanging and decorations bunched nicely at twin height, husband goes into holiday mode and starts meticulously planning his holiday for the following year. I find this all a bit un-nerving, I mean, I have no idea what can happen from now – December 2013 to then Summer 2014, it’s ages away.

But as he justifies himself to me, it does seem reasonable. After all, he works in an office in London, commuting back and forth every day of the week, barring his holiday allowance and that makes his holiday so special to him. In his words, ‘It makes it all worthwhile.’

Paul and the girls Guernsey

Another of his justifications is by booking early you can get a better crossing/cheaper flights/better deal and make more of your holiday. This year we left our Eurotunnel booking quite late and ended up with a middle of the day crossing which pretty much cut us very short on Day 1.

Paul is a family man. He lives, works and breathes for his girls. He is also a beach man, his holidays as a boy were spent on the North Kent coast and now summer to him is all about playing on the beach, building sand castles, helping the girls to learn to swim and trying out lots of fun games with them.

holiday 2013 collage

When we’re looking into our holidays he stipulates

  • a swimming pool for the girls 
  • a beach within walking distance
  • Kids clubs to give the girls the chance to meet other children
  • Entertainment in the evening so we can enjoy a drink whilst they have fun too.

His logic is – If the girls are enjoying themselves then so can we and I can’t argue with that as it has worked every year, we find by adapting ourselves to their needs we have had some amazing holidays to look back on and remember.

2013 holiday guernsey and france

Mark Warner are on the lookout for 5 bloggers to become their #MarkWarnerMum or Dad for 2014 and I’d love to be one of them.

Back in March of 2013 Paul and I got married in front of all our family and friends, we had a fantastic day but come Monday it was back to work and school, we didn’t want to leave the girls to take a honeymoon and we didn’t want to disrupt their schooling either so we went without. However I would love to visit Greece, I’ve never been and I’d really love to experience this beautiful country close up. The food, the wine the music and the culture.

Mark Warner also offer evening childcare. Paul and I never go out together as we don’t have any babysitters who live close by so in the five years since the girls arrived we have only been out together once, to a wedding. If I were to become one of your ambassadors I would love to take advantage of this fabulous offer for one special night out with my husband.

surfers woolacombe bay devon

I love your Children’s Clubs and I’m sure the twins would have so much fun and pick up so many new skills.

As part of the Junior Club, children will get to try their hand at a number of activities and learn some new skills.  Our watersports staff will take them sailing and windsurfing, our tennis coaches will put them through their paces on court and our Junior club nannies will be there to supervise and encourage. There are plenty of indoor activities on offer too, not to mention dance practice for the end of week Junior Show.

I know that if the children are being looked after and are enjoying themselves both Paul and I would like to try some of the awesome sports you offer your guests – maybe together which would be even more quality time spent together.

For sheer exhilaration, nothing beats being out on the water. And when it comes to watersports, we’ve got pretty much everything covered. Our Beach Resorts are handpicked for their ideal location and weather conditions plus we have first class experienced RYA qualified instructors who are here to help and to look after your safety whilst you are out on the water.

At nearly all of our Beach Resorts we offer free tuition in windsurfing and sailing, together with all the latest equipment to suit every ability. And, if you are already accomplished in your chosen sport, you are welcome to just take to the water independently.  And if you would like to improve on your skills, we offer a range of RYA courses and one to one private tuition.

There is no public vote involved in the #MarkWarnerMum Family Ambassador opportunity but it is purely based on the judges’ opinions. I hope the judges can see us for what we are, a loving family who want to make lifetime memories having lots of fun together.

I’m late, Mark Warner, with my last week’s activity update. Simply because we’ve been away to north Devon for half term, the reception down there was non existent but maybe this was a plus as instead of jumping online at every opportunity I couldn’t and therefore I dedicated all my time to my family and boy did we have fun!

dad and twins swimming

In fact we covered MUCH more than just swimming in our week’s stay.

golden coast woolacombe pool

There was a fabulous swimming pool with fountains and underwater jets that the girls loved playing with. Alongside the pool was a separate pool where two gi-normous beach balls were bobbing with kids inside them trying to walk and stay upright.

alice beach balls woolacombe

Once our girls had seen it they were unbearable and on day 2 we gave in.

bess in beach ball woolacombe

 

£3.00 each allowed about 6 minutes fun time inside the beach ball and I got a lot of photos of them trying to stay upright. Bessie went as far to tell us it was the highlight of her holiday.

beach balls woolacombe

It wasn’t until the end of the week that the weather perked up a bit and we had a couple of sunny days where we spent our time on the magnificent Woolacombe beach. It’s a hot spot for surfing and ‘belly boarding’ and that is the new sport we tried out this holiday.

woolacombe belly boarders

We kitted the girls out with shortie wet suits which cost £10 from the beach gift shop, a belly board each, a further £7 per board and off they went with dad into the sea to try out the new game. They loved it BUT the Atlantic sea was freezing. I’d advise any parent to invest in the full length wet suit as the girls were quickly cold (they can also be rented from many shops on the beach) and this ruined their fun as they had to come out. See the video below for an idea of what it’s all about.

As for me Mark Warner, I would love to give belly boarding, surfing and try many other water sports but it was too cold and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. If however I was lucky enough to win the Mark Warner holiday in San Lucianu, Corsica then I would definitely make the most of all the fabulous opportunities you have out there for your guests. I couldn’t think of any better holiday than playing in the warm sun on a  beautiful beach and learning some new sports to up my street cred in my kids’ eyes.

belly boards

I hope you have enjoyed watching us get active this month, please find the links to the previous Mark Warner weeks here

Go for a spin

Active Playtime

Get Sporty

and remember as the girls get older the sports will become more adventurous :)

gymnasticsOn to week 3 in our Mark Warner challenge and our prompt this week is Get Sporty we have managed this in a number of ways fitting it into our week as we went along.

First to mention is on Tuesdays, since September, the girls have been attending gymnastics at a club local to us. The club has high standards and an excellent reputation and although they’re not pushing 4 year olds, they do start training them. They use the beam, the trampoline, the bars and other apparatus in the gym strengthening their muscles and building confidence. Parents only get to watch them once every 6 weeks through an upstairs window, this is to avoid any distractions and to help the young gymnasts focus.

I have seen enormous benefits in the girls posture, in their lack of fear in playgrounds and their general well being overall since they started. They are very close to gaining their second badge, I think it’s the head stands and kick up to a handstand that’s holding them back but we hope to get the second badge before the end of this scolastic year.

gym

We spent Sunday at Legoland enjoying rollercoasters, spinning spiders, activity playgrounds and there in the Duplo Valley on the Raft River Racers we had a competition, Dad and Bessie versus Mum and Alice. Each team sat in a raft and waited for the contraption underneath to lift and tip them down the slide with running water. The slide was a long curvy track and we had to hold on tightly as we slid down. Some of the curves were high and Alice and I were screeching along the top at one point (or it seemed so) then as we slid back down in the slide we managed to let gallons of water enter our raft which soaked me right through. Mum and Alice won but not without payment.

mum gets soaked at duplo valley

We wanted to hold a few Sports Day events in the garden, like egg and spoon race, jumping in a sack, three legged races but the weather has not been on our side and when it was the girls were plagued with poorly tummies so this part of our Get Sporty week will have to be put on hold until half term when we’re also very much looking forward to Week 4’s challenge – bring it on!

Week 4 (27th May – 2nd June)

Enjoy a splash about -active family in the water (swimming, watersports etc.)

Mari’s World has been selected to take part in the Mark Warner Active Family Blogger challenge along with another 9 bloggers. The idea is to inspire other families and encourage everyone to stay fit and healthy.

Active Family Blogger Challenge

Your challenge is to commit to spending a minimum of one hour per week taking part in a designated activity as a family. We’d like you to write a blog post about your experience each week, inspiring your readers with photos and maybe even asking your children to write about their experience.

Judging and Prizes

Judges will be looking for a creative and inspiring approach to family fitness and the winner will be awarded a family holiday for up to four at Mark Warner’s resort in San Lucianu, Corsica

Our challenges so far

Go for a spin

Active Playtime

Week 2 challenge – Active playtime – active family playing lively games and perhaps learning a new skill (walking the dog, hide and seek, hula hooping e.t.c)

We’re on to week 2 of our Mark Warner Active Family Month challenge, last week we had to ‘go for a spin‘ this week it’s playtime –  something we do an awful lot of

What is playtime?

Playtime changes as a child grows and right now for us playtime can be anything from swinging in the garden, trampolining, visiting the local park or scooting/cycling.

climbing the spider web

This weekend we decided to go to the campsite where we store our caravan and spend Saturday night down there. The weather was ‘changeable‘ so our packing reflected that, wellies, big coats, swimming bags, things to do inside and jumpers to keep the bite of the wind away for outside.

By choosing to store the caravan at the site means we can load the car and jump in without the pain of hooking up and towing which in all honesty isn’t my favourite part – maybe I’ve heard Jeremy Clark bang on about how much he hates caravanners on the roads too many times?

Anyway, it didn’t take long to set up at all and Saturday was cold, windy but clear, here’s a photo I took from the car window as we got close to Birchington.

english countryside

We always ask for a pitch close to the great adventure park they have on site which means If I am busy I can carry on working, get a meal ready in the caravan AND still keep an eye on the girls out of the window. This particular park has an obstacle course to follow and it’s interesting to see the girls learn how to use each part and get more courageous each time we visit.

children's park

This time was no exception and I got our my trusty Panasonic camcorder to get you some footage of the advances that are being made.

Please note that six months ago they wouldn’t have been able to use most of the aparatus as their legs were too small, their arms too weak and so on. Some very brave actions here.

obstacle course

Then it poured down and it was only 4 pm so we decided to take them swimming in the campsite swimming pool. They loved it and although they’re wearing arm bands I can see their confidence growing each time we visit and know it won’t be much longer before they discard them. There was lots of jumping in and practising of diving from a sitting position. Alice also dives from standing and alarmingly lands in a very loud belly flop but till now she hasn’t complained. Dad below is doing a lot of throwing around which they find hilarious.

swimming pool fun

The next day the sun was shining again so most of the morning was spent playing in the park, sadly the big jackets went back on as it was really cold and windy but the girls met some older girls who took a real shine to them, when I looked out a little later this is how I saw them – not sure if they know it’s a ping pong table?

ping pong table for chatting

Of course the best thing about active weekends is that as night time comes around I have two little people very ready for bed and after I have read a story or two to them and they’ve had a little messing around time (they love sleeping in the caravan and this time I hung pink fairy lights up for them) later I looked in and saw this …

twins sleeping together

Mari’s World has been selected to take part in the Mark Warner Active Family Blogger challenge along with another 9 bloggers. The idea is to inspire other families and encourage everyone to stay fit and healthy.

Active Family Blogger Challenge

Your challenge is to commit to spending a minimum of one hour per week taking part in a designated activity as a family. We’d like you to write a blog post about your experience each week, inspiring your readers with photos and maybe even asking your children to write about their experience.

Entries will be read by a carefully selected panel of judges from Mark Warner holidays.

Judging and Prizes

Judges will be looking for a creative and inspiring approach to family fitness and the winner will be awarded a family holiday for up to four at Mark Warner’s resort in San Lucianu, Corsica