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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Our Mark Warner Holiday at Perdepera Beach Resort, Sardinia part 1

It’s been quite a while since I last ventured out of the country, with one thing and another family holidays have been taken on uk turf, but this year was going to be different, this year was going to be the year of the foreign holiday! There was just one problem. After an awful experience on a package holiday many moons ago, I’d been put off big time. I needed a break which guaranteed quality, offered activities for everyone and wasn’t too far to travel with a toddler. And the Mark Warner Perdepera Beach Resort  in Sardinia seemed to tick all those boxes.

With its mountain back drop and sandy shores, Perdepera Beach resort is compact and on a slightly smaller scale than other Mark Warner sites (so my fellow guests who have stayed at other resorts informed me.) Travelling from Heathrow, it’s only a 2 hour flight followed by a 2 hour transfer (with comfort stop luckily!)
Set with direct access to the beach, ‘friendly’ and ‘relaxed’ were some of the hit words which myself and fellow guests used to describe it. Full board dining was included in our package which included a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner all taken in the restaurant overlooking the pool.

The main pool, restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

The small nature of the site meant you quickly got to know the fellow guests which was a huge bonus, I’ve never been on such a friendly holiday! There were a few families who kept themselves to themselves, so you’re not on each other toes, but I loved the fact that you could chat and just generally have a giggle. We may have been lucky holidaying with such a friendly, like minded bunch of people. It tends to attract families looking to take advantage of the excellent sailing conditions, mountain biking and hassle free family breaks.


All meals are taken in the restaurant on a full board basis.  Breakfast consisted of fruit juice croissants, toast, fruit, cheese, cakes, cereals as well as your usual cooked breakfast. Worth noting that tea and coffee are only served in the morning although you can buy it at the bar when the restaurant is closed and there’s no facilities in the rooms. Caraffs of red, white and rose wine, sparkling and still water were also available.

The restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort
We got to sample many Sardinian recipes during lunch and dinner, with salads, hot & cold meats, cheeses, cakes, desserts, fruit, pasta, bread and chips on the offering. While it wasn’t al la carte, it was fine. My own personal fave had to be the huge chargrilled prawns which I along with the table of new friends we dined with on our last night couldn’t get enough of, I’m talking platefulls!

As for the toddler and teenager, I don’t think I have honestly seen them eat so much. This is where buffet dining comes into it’s own! While they tended to avoid the more local dishes, pasta, fruit and salad were reloaded many times with ice-cream top ups coming from the bar, the prices were comparative to back here in England which was nice to see they weren’t taking advantage of a captive audience!

The main pool, restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

A big pat on the back went to the early dining option for kids in the resort with the restaurant opening at 5.30 until 6.15 and serving much more child friendly meals of pasta, hot dogs, chips, salad, desserts and juice. This meant we had time to go back, shower and get ready and back out again to book the younger guests into evening childcare at 7.30pm allowing the adults relaxed dining while they watched a movie before being settled into sleep pods and sleeping bags by the British qualified nannies until they were collected at 9.30pm (Mark Warner info sheets stated the evening childcare ending at 10.30pm but most were picked up before then.)

Which leads me seamlessly on to my highlight of our Mark Warner holiday to Perdepera Beach Resort , the kids clubs. I’ve never used childcare or kids clubs on holiday before but with so many activities on the offering, it gave us the perfect chance to try some out. I’ll share the kids club and activities in a separate post, there’s waaaaaaaay too much to write in one sitting!

the beach at Mark Warner Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

Complex wise, the accommodation is set in singular blocks of apartments looking more like a quaint Sardinian village than a holiday complex. Painted in blues and terracotta, even a stroll around is a treat for the eyes. And with it being on the smaller side, you’re only minutes from the pool, reception and beach. Each one has it’s own covered patio with seating, table and clothes drier and designed so they aren’t overlooked.

I’d describe the rooms as more traditional than modern, with dark wood furniture, a small kitchen and bathroom with shower, large sink and (well lit) mirror and bidet. I’m fussy about my showers and ours was perfect with a good, clean and maintained shower cubicle ample enough for any sized person (or an adult with a toddler sitting on the floor as my son liked to do!) I did meet another guest who had a more modern shower and TV so I guess some rooms had been upgraded recently?

We had a mezzanine style house style. The front door opened in a small kitchenette area with a stocked mini fridge, sink, small hob and cupboards which you walked through to an area with 2 single beds, which could be used as sofas due to the padded back rests, chest of drawers and TV. As well as patio doors onto the private, outside seating area.

You accessed the other room up a flight of stairs within the downstairs room up to an open area with a double bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers. With it being open plan you can hear everything downstairs so there’s no worry about not hearing younger kids waking in the night.
To be honest, we only used our room as a base and the TV was switched on once for 10 minutes. With so much to do, other than sitting out on the patio after our evening meal chatting about our day, it was purely a case of, sleep, wash, get ready and out!

As mentioned earlier, this is only part 1 of our amazing holiday with Mark Warner to the Perdepera Beach Resort in Sardinia. Part 2 is all about the facilities and kids clubs available there.

Disclaimer

We received a discount on our Mark Warner holiday in return for sharing our honest thoughts on our stay. As always all photos and words are entirely my own unless otherwise stated. 

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Our Trevella Park Family Holiday, Crantock – Part 1

Reconnecting as a family at Trevella Park

Everyone has their go-to holiday place. The one where you know you’re going to have a great time and already holds many happy memories. Mine’s Cornwall, the last county in England, or the first depending on where you’re standing. Where the land ends and the living is easy. It’s my little piece of heaven which the boys, Daz and I come back to year after year and Trevella Park in Crantock is the perfect base to from which to explore.

Set back on the road from Newquay to Crantock, Trevella is a 5 star, award winning holiday park for campers, caravaners and glampers. You can take your own or hire one of their caravans, safari tents or geo dome tents and is just the ticket if, like us, you prefer to avoid any holiday parks with pubs and entertainment. We like to go away to relax and reconnect as a family as well as make the most of our days rather than party through the night.

On site there’s a heated swimming pool and toddler pool, a small cafe, 2 large play areas; one for toddlers and one for older kids, a small arcade, shop, a launderette and resident owl, bunnies, and cockatiel but perhaps the best features though are the picturesque fishing lakes and rangers activities.

We’ve stayed in Trevella once before, it seems like an age ago, but it has remained one of our best holidays with the boys. It was where we first set foot on the beautiful beach in Crantock and couldn’t believe our luck on discovering such a beautiful part of the country (our bonkers spaniel loved it too as it’s one of the few glorious sandy beaches which allow dogs all round.) We’ve been back to Crantock several times since but Trevella is by far our favourite place we’ve stayed and judging by the reactions to my social media updates of our mini break, is the favourite of many of you already.

breakfast on the decking at Trevella Park caravan and campsite in Cornwall

Accommodation

The caravans are set so you feel a real sense of space and security. We stayed in Lake View 20, accessed through a key fob operated security gate and with a glimmer of the stunning lake just a stones throw away. The 3 bedroom superior caravan boasted decking which caught the morning sun and importantly for us, a gate to stop the toddler escaping. (You can read more about the different caravans here)

breakfast time

It was being well equipped for a self catering holiday and enjoying al fresco meals, they’re comfortable enough for a chilled evening playing board games and watching TV after some full on adrenalin fuelled days. Even with 5 of us, it felt spacious and judging by the long lazy lie ins the boys had, we all found it incredibly comfortable!

the beautiful setting of the Lake view caravans in Trevella Park, Crantock in Cornwall

With the weather on our side we made full use of Trevella during our stay. The older teens mooched around exploring the site, playing in the arcade, making lots of snack trips to the shop and revisiting their younger, screen free years in the park as well as cooling off in the pool. After a full day surfing thanks to hiring boards from the onsite Crantock Beach and Bike Hire shop, we didn’t get even a glimmer of the word ‘bored”

the beautiful setting of the Lake view caravans in Trevella Park, Crantock in Cornwall

The toddler was an absolute delight the whole holiday, I’m putting it down to hang so much to do on the park, busy days, Daz and I being so relaxed and being able to explore and play safely and that’s where I’ll leave it for today.

In Part 2 I’m sharing all the activities we did as well as the other things you can do in the area.

making the most of the self catering facilities in the caravan in Trevella park

Disclaimer

We were invited down to Trevella Park to experience a family holiday. All words and photography are entirely my own. 

a fabulous family holiday in a family friendly holiday park in Cornwall. this photo was taken on the local nearly Crantock beach near Newquay

pin me!

 

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How to do Center Parcs on a budget

We’ve been visiting the family friendly holiday hot spot, Center Parcs, for many years now that its become a real ‘we’re home’ feeling as we first spot the familiar landing bay in the reception, yet I’m always amazed at the “ooo, it’s expensive there” response we tend to get when sharing our holiday plans. Yes, you can stay in a state of the art treehouse, complete with all mod cons (I’m talking games room, saunas, hot tubs, you get the gist)  but there are also more wallet friendly villas you can stay in and there is a way to enjoy a break at Center Parcs on a budget

There have been many occasions when our stay has been our only break of the year, but as the boys love it so much, and we can pretty much guarantee a fantastic time, we’ve compromised and budgeted in many areas without breaking the bank.

 

Book early

Out of season is always going to be cheaper. January seems to be the cheapest time of the year to go. Don’t be put off though by the thought of going in Winter, there’s still so much to do. If you’re not tied to school holidays you can get a midweek break for a really good price. As my kids are school age, I get the county school term dates online for the coming years and check for any weeks which are different from the majority of the country or where teacher trainer days have been tagged onto the beginning or end of a school holiday.

We managed a midweek break in the first week of September last year for an amazing price as most schools had gone back and so the prices were considerably less than the previous week. (we also bumped into lots of familiar Devon families that week who had spotted the price difference too!)

Book early after your visit

When you return from a break you’ll get a ‘come back soon’ offer where if you book within 28 days you’ll get free insurance, best price guarantee and £25 in restaurant vouchers. It’s so worth doing the above and booking your next break straight away, giving you plenty of time to save for your next break.

Prebook activities

You can prebook any activities, where it’s also good to check out any special offers section. We’ve managed to get bowling considerably cheaper as well as a few other activities. It is worth pre booking activities as during busy times they get snapped up pretty quickly. It helps also so you plan an itinerary around them. There have been occasions where restaurants have early dining offers too with quite good savings just for eating slightly earlier.

Center Parcs can be done on a budget. here's how we enjoy a break there without breaking the bank

 

Dine in

The restaurants there are very good and the customer service is excellent, but if you are really trying to keep costs down then eat in. We do a supermarket shop en route and top up in the onsite Parc Market which also have good offers. The kitchens in the villas are well equipped so you can easily dine in and make your own packed lunches too. There are plenty of picnic spots around, as well as the beach and a glorious green to sit and watch the world go by.

During the colder months, there are places to sit and eat packed lunches in the plaza. You’ll never be frowned upon and I’ve even borrowed cutlery from one of the restaurants, seriously, they have nailed customer service there and nothing is ever too much trouble.

we've been visiting Center Parcs for many years now, so I've put together some tips on how you can plan a break on a budget

Take your own bikes

We’ve always taken our own to cut down on hire charges. You don’t NEED a bike though, it’s just the Center Parcs thing to have one. There are no cars so you can ride around safely, the company vans you see driving around will always give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, so even if you haven’t ridden a bike for years, you’ll feel safe getting back on the saddle. That said, there are land trains to get you from A-B when you’ve overdone it in the Rapids or are laden down with swimming gear and your packed lunch.

If you don’t own a bike and your brazen enough, ask to borrow one from a friend or neighbour, it’s only a few days and if you get a puncture or run into any difficulties the cycle centre staff are super friendly and have been really helpful when ever we’ve needed any type of cycle maintenance. Just remember to bring a lock though. Center Parcs do sell some for a couple of £’s so if you’re borrowing a bike you could give it to the owner as a thank you!

Swim, bike walk

There is so much to do at Centre Parcs, we often joke that you need a holiday to recover, but you’ll never feel pressurised into partaking in any of the activities and we’ve never experienced any hard sell. You can easily fill your days in the swimming pool, on bike rides or long walks. There’s a  Rangers Lodges for the kids and some fantastic play areas for all ages as well as indoor soft play.

The villas are all very comfortable so you’ll be only too happy to return and relax after the above, many have DVD players included so a relaxing night in watching a film with a Chinese meal kit for 2 is always an option.being in the forest brings the advantage of lots of wildlife. We spend most of our time looking out through the patio doors at the animals and birds which come right up looking for food.

On our last break we were lucky to have a stag sit approximately 25 ft away and watched deer wander slowly past every day as well as a family of ducks watching us through the glass and woodpeckers flying in and out the trees. Honestly, Micheala Stachan has nothing on me when I’m there, I turn into a real nature geek!

we've been visiting Center Parcs for many years now, so I've put together some tips on how you can plan a break on a budget

 

Free baby food!

I know that feeding your baby is not going to break the bank, but many restaurants and cafe’s offer complimentary baby food. They also offer good value kids menus with meal, drink and desert offers, this is where the savings add up.

Share accommodation

It works out cheaper if you can share accommodation with another family, they have villas with up to 4 bedrooms. I’m still trying to convince my sister that we can afford to share a tree house  just so I can experience how the other half live for a weekend but she’s not quite got the Center Parcs bug enough to warrant parting with her hard-earned cash!

 

And that ‘s about it. You really can do Centre Parcs on a budget.

we've been visiting Center Parcs for many years now, so I've put together some tips on how you can plan a break on a budget

 

This is in no way connected with Centre Parcs, all opinions and photographs are entirely my own. 

How to do Center Parcs on a budget,

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As a family one of our favourite short breaks is Center Parcs.  We first visited 14 years ago when Teenager was a little lively toddler ( to which Baby R is now his mirror image in looks and activity levels) and were taken with the family friendly approach that made holidaying with a child a fabulous and stress free experience. We enjoyed it so much that we’ve returned time and time again and over the years has fast become our favourite British get away.

We find that with 3 boys of very different ages, there’s something for all of us and as much as I long for a relaxing week by the pool, after a disastrous package holiday many moons ago, we prefer to spend our precious family time in a place we can guarantee quality and good customer service, both of which we find at Center Parcs.

For this year’s visit, we chose to upgrade our usual Woodland Lodge to an executive being the hubster’s 40th and the maid service, free wifi and en suits meant we all had something to keep us happy. Longleat has undergone a much needed refurbishment programme and we wanted to make this break a little more special.  Having stayed in a lower end villa a few years back, it was quite shocking to see how tatty the older villas had become, I should point out that guest services were very quick to make sure everything was sorted though when I pointed it out, but that was then and this is now.

We were situated in the Pine area, perfect for quick Plaza dashes but quiet enough for a good nights sleep. Cleanliness was faultless and apart from the villa needing the odd paint touch ups round the window cills (I had to find something!) in villa number 315.

A review of Center Parrcs in Longleaf

We make full use of the sub tropical swimming pool when we’re there. The older boys love the Rapids and it was amazing to watch them buddying up together. The age difference means they don’t have a great deal in common at times, as much as Tween looks up to his big brother, it’s obvious Teenager just finds him annoying most of the time, so to see them laughing and joking together is magic.

Of course with all this activity it’s inevitable that there are quiet moments and as much as I wanted us all screen free, I appreciate they needed down time and that’s where the free wifi, unbelievably comfortable sofa and bedroom Tvs came in use. Tween was rather taken with the jacuzzi bath too and spent most evenings having long bubble baths, emerging refreshed and exclaiming that we had to get one at home each time!


The coffee machine and walk in showers were enough to keep me happy, although the beds should get a special mention. My next mattress is so going to be the same brand they use. Even Baby R slept longer.

We booked restaurants that had the small play areas as I’m well aware how boring eating out is for a one year old, it still involved a degree of tag parenting but takes the edge off dining with toddlers. We really noticed our food bill go up this visit with Teenager now on adult meals, but that’s only to be expected and complimentary baby food in a few of the restaurants really helped.

After my Noom app trial kick started a new healthy living lifestyle, I found I’ve had so much more energy lately. We had lots of long walks and my FitBit registered well over my 10,000 steps target each day and that’s without an hour in the pool. Even though it’s waterproof, I took it off as I wasn’t sure how it would fare up to several trips down the Rapids.

A weekend at centre parcs reviewed,

I had plenty of healthy options to choose from in the restaurants we dined in, my favourite being the prawn skewer salad. Although I did look longingly at Daz’s burger in Hucks, it was the first time since giving up red meat that I’ve missed it.

Baby R was amazing the whole weekend, despite decorating the floor of every restaurant we ate in, the staff were fantastic at making us feel welcome and not batting an eye lid at our little whirlwind. He entertained most people he met, greeting admirers with big cheesy grins, the stress free and happy family ethos clearly rubbed off on him. We took our Phil & Teds Verve pushchair as it lies completely flat and he napped like a baby!

As always, it was a fabulous family trip but over all too quickly. With the car loaded up for our return journey we travelled home in silence, there’s always a tinge of sadness in the air when we leave, like saying goodbye to a relative, the combination  of fresh air, good food and lots of exercise leaving us wrapped in our own little worlds.

Were already planning our next trip for next year, promising teenager he can bring a friend. We’ll wait to see ho my new business plans take off before we decide when, how long and in what. It won’t be in one of the treehouses, despite the boys pleas, but the extra comforts of the executive accommodation was a welcome surprise for this year’s visit. Especially if we’ve got 3 teenagers to tidy up after!

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