“Hedgie, we are going on a plane. So you MUST. BE. GOOD,” says NG firmly to her stuffed hedgehog. It is 5.12am and we are speeding towards Heathrow to catch a plane to Lakitira, Kos – the Mark Warner heaven we have frequented every year since our daughter popped out. NW is driving and I, pregnant with NC, am feeling a little bit sick.
On the plane, NG sits on my lap. “Mummy, what is this?” she asks disdainfully.
“It’s the in-flight magazine, darling.”
“Ham-a-seen? I haven’t seen my ham. Where is my ham, Mummy? WHERE IS MY HAM?”
NG’s weaning adventures stalled when she discovered ham. Initially a voracious foodie, we haven’t been able to tempt her with so much as a breadstick for weeks. Luckily, the amazing BA stewards find a bacon roll and we all settle down to a lovely flight.
We sign in, get shown to our Junior Suite swiftly – seriously, fit for royalty, with heart-shaped towel twists and everything – and settle in. NG is clearly touched. “Mummy, they do LOVE me here.”
“That remains to be seen,” says NW, who is already changing into his swimmers. “Come on everyone. To the beach.”
On the way, NG can’t resist gazing across the Med from the top of some steps. “Look, Hedgie. That is where our house is,” she points. “We are not there now, Hedgie. This is geese.”
I have been coming to the Greek islands since I was tiny. Kos and Rhodes are my favourites. They are the perfect location for a family holiday but one of the things Mark Warner does spectacularly well is childcare. Not even the Duchess of Cambridge’s nanny could rival our MW angel last year: when we left, she was so ‘in tune’ with NG, we all blubbed. Also, NW and I love tennis, sailing and paddle boarding and the break we get with the wonderful childcare to indulge in these activities is indescribably wonderful.
And the food. Four courses for breakfast, three for lunch … Mark Warner knows where it’s at for children and adults. We are very reluctant to leave the kids’ supper table because YOU CAN ORDER WINE, they have pizza with ham on and, at the beach, NG suddenly has no problems multi-tasking sandcastles and ice-cream, even though there is no ham flavour.
We have a ball. I heave my bump from pool, to beach, to spa, to table; make firm friends with the ‘Sunset Stretch’ team and even manage some dancing with NG. A holiday means new sunglasses all round and, after an easy trip into town, we end up with three pairs that take us from beach to restaurant in style.
NG becomes more and more adventurous with the food. Yoghurt. Prunes! “Hedgie, we must eat more pasta,” she says after a particularly strenuous game of running in a nappy across the tennis courts.
“Yes,” I say. “Yes, you must.”
When it’s time to go home, NG puts shorts on her head to delay the inevitable. “Hedgie wants to stay,” she says.
“I know how he feels,” I say. “But we have to go, darling. What would you like in your sandwiches the plane?”
NW and I wait with bated breath. She thinks for a minute.
“Feta,” she says.
So … a cheesy ending to our #MarkWarnerMum entry in the creative writing category, but I promise if you pick A Right Royal Mother, we will all live happily ever after. After all, skiing holidays have fondue.
And you can watch a little film of our adventure to see just how epic it really was.