After a childhood spent in Manchester, Mandi Norwood began her magazine days at titles such as More! and The Clothes Show Magazine. At just 25 years old, she took on the role as editor-in-chief of Looks Magazine before moving on to Company and then Cosmopolitan. Having had such success taking great magazines and making them smash hits, she was poached to move to the States and rebrand Mademoiselle magazine, which she did with aplomb. She has since graced television shows, written books and even been in the White House with a specially selected group of magazine editors to speak with Laura Bush on women’s issues. Today, she is Editorial Director of Niche Media, overseeing magazines such as Ocean Drive and Gotham. She lives in The Hamptons and has two daughters.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
Going to Butlins in Minehead with all my family, driving for hours in the tiniest, hottest car, then arriving there, jumping into the glass-bottomed swimming pool, not being able to swim, and almost drowning. My uncle had to dive in and save me!
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
One of the best holidays has to be our honeymoon. We stayed at Dromoland Castle in Ireland. It was February and freezing, so we ate and ate and ate and ate. We did a little bit of horse-riding and clay pigeon shooting and sightseeing, but basically we just ate. Just thinking of all the amazing food, even now, makes my mouth water.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
Of all places, we went to Egypt!! We must have been mad as it was so incredibly hot and dusty, but I was determined that having children wouldn’t stop us from traveling and having fun. It didn’t. We just popped her in a back-carrier, covered her head-to-toe in suncream, took a sun brolly and plied her with water. We had a great time.
Q: How do you find the experience of traveling with children generally?
My daughters are both adults now — 18 and 21 — and we love to travel together. I don’t remember it being too stressful when they were young as we were always sure to carry Ziploc bags full of Cheerios, small pouches of drink, puzzle books and DVDs. But here’s the thing: I always told them in no uncertain terms that they were to behave: no running up and down aisles, no loud voices, no whining. If they started to break the rules, I’d give them a very stern look — what became known as “the hairy eyeball.” It stopped bad behaviour in its tracks. And it still works today! Good manners and being respectful of other people is the key to happy travels all around.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your children?
We have had many. New York is a great place for kids. In fact, all the U.S cities are fantastic — Chicago, Boston, DC, Miami – they’re all incredible for culture and food. And skiing in Deer Valley was amazing. It had all the amenities for kids, but I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of a kids’ playground, either. Ultimately, however, you can’t beat the Hamptons at any time of year. It’s truly the most beautiful place on earth. We took our daughters there thirteen years ago, and we loved it so much we decided that one day we’d live there. Now we do!
Q: And your worst?
Either we haven’t had a bad time, or it was so bad, I have blanked it totally from my mind.
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
Now, it’s an iPad. Then, it was puzzle books.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
Soft toys filled with lavender on long flights. When you squeeze them, the aroma of lavender fills the air, relaxing them and helping them sleep, and, frankly, improving the air quality in the immediate vicinity, too.