Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Kodomo Q&A

Sainsbury’s Magazine Editor, Helena Lang


Helena Lang, Sainsbury's magazine editor. Photographer: Jonathan West

Sainsbury’s Magazine editor Helena Lang, photographed by Jonathan West.

Sainsbury’s Magazine is one of the best-loved of its kind in the country. And since her appointment as editor in October 2009, Helena Lang has taken it from strength to strength. With a balanced combination of lifestyle and, of course, food news, features and recipes, are thrilled to be included on its travel pages this month. Previous to her position as editor of Sainsbury’s magazine, Helena edited Source magazine. She has a daughter, Jess, and lives in London.

Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?

Going to North Wales, with my parents, little brother, and extended family including Grandparents, Great Auntie Kathleen, Aunties and Uncles and various family dogs. We all stayed in a white cottage on a slope leading down to Nefyn beach. Happy days.

Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy many fabulous holidays, but one that sticks in my mind was a trip to Vancouver several years ago with my husband and daughter; she was about nine or ten. We spent several days in that amazing city and then took a cruise with Carnival on a ship that toured the Inner Passage of Alaska. It was simply amazing.

Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?

We took Jess to Crete when she was about four months old. It was early September so the weather was perfect. We stayed in a little apartment and drove to Lake Kournas most days, where we could dip her in the warm water and munch on meze.

Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children?

We’ve never let having Jess interfere with our travel plans! Obviously, we wouldn’t do anything dangerous, but children are very portable – particularly before they are walking (and running!) We had a great buggy that you could virtually recline to a flat position, which was perfect for evenings as, once we ordered dinner, I would wheel her around for a few minutes and she would eventually nod off, giving us a few hours of peace and quiet in some romantic taverna. Love you Jess!

Q: Do you ever take your daughter away with you for work or do you prefer to keep that side of things separate? Have you had any particularly memorable work trips with her?

My job involves lots of travel writing for the magazine so Jess has often come too. I think she would say her favourite trip was to California a few years ago. She has a sense of adventure and likes us to move around a bit – on that trip we spent time in Santa Barbara before heading off for some glamping at El Capitan Canyon.

Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?

There have been so many, but we always enjoy trips to the Charente Maritime region in France where my family has a holiday home. We love the beaches, the food (especially the seafood) and the French version of a traditional seaside holiday.

Q: And your worst?

Turkey. We went to Kalkan when Jess was about five. It was a disaster as we had booked accommodation online and, when we arrived, we were told there was a plumbing problem. It also turned out it had been double-booked. The husband went bonkers. Then Jess got food poisoning and was very, very ill for about five days. We didn’t go back to Turkey for twelve years.

Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?

Other than the double-buggy, flying essentials would have to be a hoody for draughty air-con and lots of pens and puzzle books.

Q: And top tips for travel with kids?

I’m a bit old-fashioned and think that children should behave well wherever they are – I would hate to think that my children were ruining someone else’s holiday experience. Having said that, Jess once screamed all the way home on an aeroplane (she had problems adjusting to pressure in her ears). I don’t think the couple sitting next to us were very impressed….

Photograph of Helena Lang by Jonathan West.