Rachel is mum to George (4) and Thomas (1). She recently moved from London to Las Palmas, Gran Ganaria and is currently enjoying going to the beach as much as possible. She blogs at everyday30.com
1. What makes your ideal family holiday My favourite holidays are always those where friends come along. Especially now we have kids it just works so well as you’ve got someone to share the load, the kids get someone to play with and once they’re in bed you’ve got friends to drink with!
2. Where is your favourite kid-friendly beach? Before we moved to Gran Canaria, I’d always thought of it as a bit tacky. But actually, all the resorts are in the South of the island and we live in the capital in the North. There’s a beach right in the city called Las Canteras which is incredible. It’s kept absolutely pristine by the local government and at one end it’s great for surfing and the other end is protected by a natural rock barrier that makes the water really calm and perfect for kids. When the tides out there are loads of rock pools to explore and the snorkelling is amazing, even just in the shallows. I also love that we’re right in the heart of the city so there are loads of great restaurants and bars too and while there are certainly some tourists around, it’s very much a local beach.
3. Bikini or swimsuit? Where do you buy your swimwear? Definitely bikini. I thought I’d want to wear a swimsuit after I had kids but I just couldn’t find one that’s flattering. I always buy my bikinis from Bravissimo. I have quite big boobs and their bikinis are super-supportive and comfortable. I got a strapless one this year and it is amazing.
4. What do you like to wear on the plane? For me it’s all about comfort and layers as you never know how cold (or hot) it will be. For longer flights I would also bring a change of clothes (for everyone) in case of accidents. The last flight we took (to move to Gran Canaria!) I actually wore a midi dress and it worked perfectly. It was long enough that I wasn’t worried about flashing people while I wrangled children/luggage but it was also really comfortable as there were no waistbands digging in.
5. What has been your favourite holiday to date? We took my oldest son to Sydney for Christmas and New Year when he was only 7 weeks old. It sounds insane but we booked the flights to go and see friends who were living there before he was born and actually it worked really well. When babies are that small, they just sleep all the time. We didn’t even take a buggy, we just carried him in a sling. I actually think the best time to travel with kids is when they’re very small. It gets much more complicated as they get older!
6. What’s your one holiday beauty essential? It’s Boots curl creme. I have very curly hair and it is honestly the best thing I have found to get rid of frizz without being crunchy or heavy. I’m also a big fan of pedicures, it has to be one where they get rid of all the dead skin too – having nicely painted toes just makes me happy!
7. Where do you like to go for a ‘parent escape’? My partner is slowly coming around to the idea of nice hotels. I took him to Berlin for his 30th and we stayed at Soho House and it was incredible. As we so rarely get the chance to go on holiday alone, then I’m all about the luxury! The Pig has been on my wishlist for ages, I’ve heard so many good things about it.
Soho House Berlin
8. What are your must-haves for a family beach day? I’m really trying to this narrow this down at the moment, we take so much stuff to the beach with us! We’ve got an umbrella, beach chair, towels, blankets, snacks and loads of toys. One trick I’ve picked up is to always bring spare swimwear – that way you don’t have to sit around in a wet bikini if you’ve been for a swim. It stops children getting too cold after they’ve been in the sea as well. Oh, and a cafe nearby.
9. If you could take your children to one country, which would it be and why? Somehow my children are very well travelled (especially the oldest) so there’s nowhere in particular that I really want to take them, but I would really love to see the Northern Lights one day with them.
10. Do you have any tips for holiday packing?
I started a capsule wardrobe about a year ago (which is amazing by the way) and so I approach packing for a holiday or trip in the same way. I use my wardrobe workbook (which you can download here) and it basically involves checking the weather, listing all the activities I might be doing and then thinking of the kind of clothes I might want to wear. I used to try and plan out outfits for everyday, but now I just concentrate on packing versatile pieces that can be worn at least a couple of different ways so I have lots of choice. I also try to bring at least a couple of different shoe choices too – I’ve made the mistake of trying to pack light with only pair and then being sick to death of them by the end of the holiday!
Personal Images copyright Rachel Manley
Las Canteras Beach Image copyright I Do What I Want To
Soho House Berlin Image copyright Soho House
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