As promised, here’s part 2 of my review of our stay at Perdepera Beach Resort in Sardinia with Mark Warner. (If you missed part 1, read all about the accommodation and restaurant here )  

What sets a Mark Warner aside from other travel companies are the activities for all the family. Our break had group sailing and windsurfing lessons, mountain bike, tennis, sea kayak and paddle board hire,as well as half day childcare and evening childcare and kids club sessions all included. And there’s one word which goes above ALL those activities and that’s quality.

There are no half measures on a Mark Warner holiday, especially when it comes to the the staff, everyone we met seemed to love their job and that radiated into how friendly, helpful and happy they were. For a mum who’s never used kids clubs on holiday before, I needed to be sure that my children were in capable hands but it soon became clear, from the quality of the rooms to the manner and friendliness of the Mark Warner nannies, that I had no reason to worry.

We’d booked morning sessions for Ronnie which ran from 9.30 – 12.30 am, with a programme of organised activities including bubble play, fun pool sessions (where all kids wore float suits and sun hats) beach sessions where tried mini on-shore sailing & playing on the paddle board or in the waves, as well as crafts, play time and singing and dancing. Phew!

In the afternoons, when he wasn’t booked in but spotted Phee, his Mark Warner kids club nanny, in the pool he tried to joining in. A sure sign he loved the kids club sessions, I’d say. What I really liked though was that the childcare team would stop and talk to him even when they saw him around the complex. (watch my video below if you want to see the cutest stage performance of the Mini’s which proceeded a presentation to conclude their week)

As for Ky, my awkward and shy teenager, the kids club was the making of the holiday for him. Initially he was very reluctant to join in but I explained that everyone was in the same boat; not knowing anyone and persuaded to give it a try. His had the opportunity to join in with as many or as few sessions as he wanted throughout the day. The schedule of activities would be listed on a board outside the kids club hut so he knew exactly what was on and where to go. It took just that first one session for him to make friends and end up having his best holiday ever.

From beach rounders, group games involving water fights, pool games and sailing sessions, he was spoilt for choice. And when the kids club finished, he was off with his new co host of Mark Warner teens and tweens. The complex is compact so quite safe leaving this age group to roam free. It probably explains why he was so tired in the morning and ate more than I though humanly possible. He made new friends which he’s still in touch with and more importantly, some of the best holiday memories money couldn’t buy.

I don’t want to go home and if we do I want to come back here for every holiday from now on

were his exact words!

the stunning beach at Perdepera beach resort in Sardinia
The evening childcare was a bonus too. After taking the kids to an early dinner at 5.30, it was back to the room to change Ronnie into his pj’s then back out to watch a movie with his new friends at 7.30,   The room was kitted out with mini camping beds and sleeping bags as well as the sofa area for movie time, and when he was tired he’d settle down and go to sleep. All under the watchful eye of British trained nannies and opposite the restaurant, so we were nearby if he was upset.

This was another 1st for me, although Ronnie’s stayed at his Dads and my mum’s plenty of times, he’s never had a babysitter but I soon realised it was a much nicer way for him to spend his evening rather than sat still in a restaurant for a couple of hours!

And finally, it wasn’t all about the kids. I got to try out some activities too. Unfortunately we missed a couple of days due to the chaos of British Airways IT failures, so I didn’t get to do everything on my list. But that just gives me a reason to start saving for another Mark Warner holiday!

I did, however, get to try windsurfing under the patient guidance of Maddie, my instructor, albeit in very choppy waters which meant I spent more time in the water than on the board. Sea kayaking on a calmer day was absolute bliss and (SUP) paddle boarding was a lot harder than it looks, but just as fun. Next time I would love to make use of the mountain bikes available and see a little more of the island while learning to sail is my number 1 priority. We met a couple who were keen sailors and had stayed in other Mark Warner resorts but found that Sardinia had perfect sailing conditions. The winds were stronger in the afternoon and calmer in the morning so for a newbie like myself, that would be the best time to learn.


As well as windsurfing and sailing tuition, there were also organised group sea kayak adventures, catamaran tasters or you can pay extra for 1-1 sailing sessions. For the days when you’re feeling a little less energetic, Perdepera Beach Resort has a chic, adult only pool with jets and a tranquil decking area or you can book a treatment in the mini spa

 

And if you’re really lucky and British Airways manage to lose everyone’s luggage, you get to spend the morning in a local shop buying essentials! Joking aside, I should  say a huge thanks to Mark Warner and Colette, our resort manager, for making the best of a difficult situation and going above and beyond their duty in helping us to enjoy our holiday after being stuck at Heathrow for 2 days during the British Airways IT failure. It didn’t go un noticed and was hugely appreciated not just by myself but other guests we spoke to.

the stunning beach at Perdepera beach resort in Sardinia

And if you want to see more, here’s a whistle-stop tour of the complex;

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post but all words and photography are my own unless otherwise stated.

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Family Beach games With Smite

During our recent holiday to Cornwall we were granted some amazing weather so headed down to the beach for a game of Smite, the addictive wooden garden game. Dragging us all off our sandy towels, it’s the perfect game to eek out a little healthy competition amongst the family and lets the boys show off their throwing skills. The idea of  a game of Smite is to reach 50 by knocking down the pins with all the instructions printed on the handy carry bag.

 

Smite

Smite garden games reviewed

Any that you knock down are repositioned standing up where they lay making it harder and harder to reach the 50 points goal, if you go over its back to 25. With the boys sitting GCSE’s and end of year assessments, it’s great game to get your testing your mental arithmetic (no cheating by using your phone) and is simple enough for even the youngest members of the family to play so really is a game for you all.

 

Smite

The Tween was the most persistent with Smite bringing out a hidden persistent streak I’ve never seen before. This ethically sourced game is perfect for keeping you entertained in the garden, during bbq’s, picnics and like us, on a trip to the beach. ALI_1742

Disclaimer

We were sent Smite to try out and share our outdoor family fun with you. 

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Helping Teenagers And Tweens To Get Active.

I thought it was high time I exercised some of my mum of a tween and teenager (a nearly teen if you aren’t familiar with that term) skills. I’m going to avoid claiming that certain activities are only suitable for boys as there seems less and less of a divide between the genders these days.

As any parent or carer of this age group will know, as winter sets in it gets harder and harder to get them off their gadgets and out in the fresh air. It is so much easier to let them be when they’re quiet and safe, but parenting doesn’t stop at 11. The same rules apply whether they’re 4 or 14, they need exercise, good food, protection, excitement and most importantly; fresh air. See I said it again!

With school pressures, peer pressures and a natural urge to push boundaries, it can be tough for our emerging adults and teenage depression and low mood can be a problem. One of the ways to help is to get out in the daylight hours and do some exercise. (read more on helping depression in teenagers here.)

We have a rule, if they want computer or games console time, they have to get out and about.  It’s a whole different kettle of fish where you  encourage them to go mind. Gone are the days of getting away with a walk to the local park to play on swings or puddle jumping sessions.

For your teenager or tween to willingly get out without a power struggle, it has to be something either fun, cool or simply what all the other teenagers in the neighbour hood are doing. (That’s where the safe thing come in, if they’re enticed into anti social behaviour then you really have got to up your game of activites to lure them away!)

clearly not getting it right in terms of encouraging my teenager to get out and about, but heres how we did manager it;

Clearly not getting it right this time!

 

I’m very lucky, both my older 2 are skateboard mad. It’s very much the thing to do in my area and I suspect in your too. I love that they have such an active hobby which has taught them balance and control and they can participate with friends or on their own. It also made Christmas shopping rediculously easy, I just plonked my self infront of the laptop and browsed websites like Skatehut.co.uk and stocked up on grip tape, bearings, wheels and skate tools.

They got their boards as birthday or Christmas presents and half the fun as a skateboarder is customising and upgrading them, it sounds like an expensive hobby but it really isn’t. And anything they want or need which their allowance can’t stretch to, they save for using their Osper cards. (That’s a whole different blog post but works a treat)

 

keeping teenagers and tweens active through the winter and why you must do it!

And here’s where his happy place is.

Local councils are really catching on to the skateboard craze and most towns now have a dedicated skatepark for skaters and scooter enthusiasts alike. While some unfortunately do end up as gathering spots for the not so nice activities, there are many which are used for the purpose for which they were created and my boys soon sought out the best ones to practice their tricks.

So next time your teenager tells you they’re bored, there’s nothing to do and can they go on their Playstation, get them skating, start on a quite road as there will be a few little bumps. Before they know it, they’ll be showcasing their skills to friends and it’s a great way of getting down to the school bus in record time when they can’t get out of the bed in the morning.

Just ask my neighbours!

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post

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Reviewing the Slimy Factory from Science4you

Yup, you read it right, a Slimy Factory. As a mum of boys that’s about as creative as it gets, as I glare longingly at the bath bomb sets, perfume making kits and friendship bracelet making crafts that grace the older children’s crafting shelves, the reality of being Team Blue sets in. The days of sitting at the table cutting and sticking are long gone so if I want to get the Tween engaged in something creative a Slimy Factory is going to do it.

So as the weather took a turn for the worse it was time to see just what the Slimy Factory from Science4you  had in Store. As an educational and scientific toy it was a great relief to over come the mum guilt of not doing much in this area over the holidays. We usually write a summer diary but the last few years it’s become more of chore than a pleasure but since winning the science award in school, Tween was super excited to get stuck in.

Opening the box, he found goggles and gloves, result! He immediately thought something dangerous could happen, this is what life as a mum of boys looks like, the more dangerous the better. Is it any wonder I have grey hairs! So without even prompting he put on his safety gear and was ready to go. Checking there were no Bunson burners lurking in the box 1st, I unpacked the bottles, pippets and measuring cups. It looked the real deal and would require Tween to test out so many learning and developmental skills from using fine motor skills to control the pippet, carefully adding the right ingredients and maths while measuring out the right amount of water.

reviewing the Slimy Factory from educational toys Science4you, fun and learning based around ket stage 2

With several ‘experiments’ to carry out, he started by making a bouncy ball. It soon became clear that he needed to follow the instructions carefully and this wasn’t going to be a quick 10 minute activity. It kept him engaged for a good hour as we sat together working through the steps making a bouncy ball and then play dough. When it went wrong, he learnt a valuable lesson about taking his time to read and follow the instructions properly, loving that I couldn’t take over as HE was the one wearing the gloves and glasses. My role was a gentle guide, no touching!

using the Slimy Factory from Science4you, an educational toy based around key stage 2

With an rrp of £19.99 it’s good value considering what comes in the box and how many hours of fun and active learning can be had. It’s quite difficult finding rainy day activities to do with older boys especially with the lure of technology and I’m all for bringing learning to the home environment in a fun interactive way. I’m just working out now how I can convince Tween to try out the Candle or Soap Factory from the Science4You range.

reviewing the slime factory by Science4you, a fun and educational game for children in key stage 2

 

“I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.”

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Teenager unplugged

We don’t live in an area renowned for its surf, the south coast of Devon is more of a sailor’s hot spot, but now and then we get some easy rollers hitting the shores of Sidmouth and with the promenade too busy for skateboarding, Teenager and his friends took to the sea for the 1st surf of the year. surf rollers in Sidmouth, Devon by Mum in a Nutshell It was changeable sunny day but I still had to give a hyperthermia pep talk as despite being protected by his winter wetsuit, the sea is still unbelievably cold. I actually came straight home and searched the internet for some wetsuit boots, he grows so quickly that I’m often caught short of clothing. A day out surfing with the teenager by  Mum in a nutshell I’m reading a fabulous book, How To Unplug Your Child by Liat Hughes Joshi which recognises the screen rich world teenagers live in, but at the same helps you mange their technology with ways to enjoy real life. how to unplugged your child, activities for families to help encourage some screen free time   It’s made me really assess how much time the boys have plugged in and we’re trying to encourage them to get out and about and do more away from the WiFi so I have no problem at all driving Teenager around to meet up with friends for activity fuelled days like these. 1st surf of the year, encouraging the Teenager to get off the Xbox is all the more easier when you live by the sea.  by Mum in a Nutshell However, I’m still in the crux of keeping a watchful, albeit distant, eye on him as I adjust to life with an child on the verge of becoming an adult. It’s still a minefield as to how much freedom we give him and how much protecting he needs. He’s never too bothered when I rein him in a little as he knows I always do it out love and not to mean. None the less, I was still nervous about letting him hit the waves without a beach lifeguard or adult keeping watch so Hubby and I casually dropped by with hot drinks for them all which were a welcome relief from the biting cold water. A five minute surf stop to fill up on hot drinks; h=getting your teenager off the wifi and out in the fresh air 4 hours later and we returned to take home 2 very tired, cold boys (the extra one being Teenager’s best friend who was on a sleep over.) They piled into the car, still in wetsuits that were too difficult to peel off with cold hands, turned the heating up and returned them safe in the comfort of the Xbox after hot showers and roast dinners which began an evening of non stop refuelling to replace the extra energy burnt. While I rinsed out 2 sea soaked wetsuits and worked on the endless food shopping lists that consume my life as a mum to a teenager. In an ever growing technological world, teenagers are hooked up to WiFi more often than not. Trying to get them away from their screens is no mean feat. By Mum in a Nutshell

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

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