Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: July 2015

As you all know, we’re BIG Los Angeles fans at and, if you’re there this summer, there is more reason than ever to check out the Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel. Year-round, they are seriously welcoming of little children, considering them in every detail and ensuring a stay is as relaxing as possible for parents, but this summer they have taken things one step further and launched the new family-friendly amenity program called “Little C.”

Mr. C Beverly Hills pool


So what this means is that, from check-in, your little ones are loved. They’ll receive a complimentary welcome Mr. C teddy bear and a plate of freshly baked homemade cookies with milk on arrival. Head to your room (no matter what grade you book into) and they’ll be welcomed with a complimentary child-size bathrobe and Honest Company Discovery bath products, (all are made with non-toxic, natural, and safe ingredients so nothing to worry about). These include shampoo and body wash, healing balm, hand soap, face and body lotion and even laundry detergent. The fantastic Restaurant at Mr. C will features a “LIttle C” menu that features classic Cipriani dishes such as Baked White Tagliolini Pasta with ham, Mini Margherita Pizza with Buffalo mozzarella and Spaghetti alla Bolognese (you’ll want some yourself) and, of course, a Little C colouring book to keep them busy while they wait. And, after a long day of play, if you need a crib it’ll be in your room at no extra charge.

Mr. C Beverly Hills  cabana

What’s more, the hotel is surrounded by some fabulous, family-friendly attractions and, should you be staying at The Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel, you’ll be entitled to certain discounts such as $5 tickets to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and, if you choose to participate in the aquarium scavenger hunt, you will receive a 15% discount coupon to Pacific Park on the Pier for unlimited rides. You can also enjoy $20 off surf and paddle boarding lessons with Santa Monica’s Learn to Surf LA company and 10% off the pottery studio Color Me Mine in Beverly Hills. And, should you decide just to stay within the confines of the hotel and enjoy the sunshine, little ones will love the 4,500-square-foot pool terrace, dotted with asymmetrical tangerine sun umbrellas and plush cabanas.

Mr. C Beverly Hills entrance

And for you? Well, aside from the seriously gorgeous accommodation and first-class service, there is a first come first served car service on hand for short journeys around the area so you needn’t stress yourself out with LA traffic. There is a heavenly ESPA spa to enjoy or, if you really don’t feel like moving, you can enjoy both in-room and poolside spa services. This is, by far, one of the finest choices in LA for both you and your little ones.

Mr. C Beverly Hills suite

To more information on this hotel click here.

For more family-friendly LA hotels click here.

I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the team at Junior Magazine as a judge in the Junior Design Awards 2015 for the second year running.

Junior Design Awards 2015 banner

Last year, we spent hours ogling gorgeous nursery furniture, debating the best family hotels, and road-testing some seriously impressive buggies, nappy bags, baby-carriers and car seats. We chatted top toys to favourite kids’ fashion items, the very best family breaks away to inspirational children’s books, and I was really honoured to spend time with some fabulous men and women who also sat on the panel. This September we’ll be doing it all over again and, if you have a boutique, label or book of your own that you want considered, it isn’t (quite) too late to enter. Categories will be closed this Thursday July 30th so, if you’re not yet on there and plan to enter, do sign up now.

Junior Design Awards 2015 logo

Alongside me will be the lovely weather presenter and geologist, Kirsty McCabe, Kelly Beswick and notanothermummyblog‘s Alison Perry, as well as Junior’s very own Catherine Hudson. We’ll be covering lifestyle, food and drink, travel, toys and books. Fashion, accessories, beauty and interiors will be overseen by a lovely crew including Rachel Stevens. The Junior Design Awards are synonymous with great design, practicality and safety and it’ll be wonderful to see what entries we get to consider this Autumn.

So, if you’re keen to enter a product, simply click here but, remember, you need to do it before this Thursday!


The River Cottage in Devon is a hub of glorious food, family and this August, it’s home to the fabulous River Cottage Summer Fair. The lovely team at The River Cottage host twice-yearly celebrations of the season and the upcoming Summer Fair, for those in and around the Axminster area on the Dorset and Devon border, will make a fabulous family treat. (If you don’t live in the West Country, we highly recommend you make a weekend of it).

River Cottage Summer Fair banner


On Saturday 15th August and Sunday August 16th, The River Cottage will be awash with activities and entertainment for the kids that include falconry, pig-racing and welly-wangling. There will be live music by night, cookery demonstrations in the cookery theatre, talks and tours, local food and craft market stalls, gardening tips and hands-on masterclasses by day. Aside from the obvious culinary highlights, children will adore the bouncy castle, puppet shows and garden games, as well as seeing the four-legged visitors that will be there from the charmingly named Munchkins Miniature Shetland Rescue Centre. And adults won’t miss out on the extra-curricular fun either: there will be blacksmithing, weaving, gardening lessons, farm tours and, our personal favourite: the Heron Valley cocktail yurt.

If you’re a fan of Hugh’s culinary prowess, or simply love the idyllic setting of his show, the Summer Fair will allow you a sneak-peek behind the scenes at River Cottage HQ where you’ll be able to meet the team, see the animals and the gardens (always popular with little ones) and enjoy the very best of what’s in season from the River Cottage food tent. Food and drink will be available all day and evening and the licensed bar will be serving local ciders, beers, wines and bubbles. If you aren’t there with really little children it’s well worth staying on into the evening when live music will play till late. “Joey the Lips” will kick start the weekend’s shenanigans on Friday August 14th, serving up some eclectic funk, soul, blues and disco. Saturday night will be overseen by “Tankus the Henge,” a foot-stomping six piece powerhouse of a band. Yes, please!

Rover cottage summer fair farmer

There is a full programme of events that stretch from mid-morning coffee and cakes whilst taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery through to dancing away to live music at the gig nights way beyond sunset. And if you’re not really local to the River Cottage, we suggest you head to Devon anyway; it is a stunning place to enjoy a family break this summer. From the boundless beaches and cobbled village lanes, the incredible local food (the southwest is considered by many to be England’s larder) and the array of family activities, the River Cottage Summer Fair can be enjoyed either side of long, lazy walks and gorgeous family-friendly accommodation.

River Cottage summer fair couple

The River Cottage Summer Fair will take place both days from 10am-4pm and costs £12.50 per adult. Children under 12 years go free.

The Gig Nights are from 6pm-10.30pm and cost £15 per adult.

For more information and for bookings visit, 01297 630 300 or email

Phone (01297 630 300) or email

Soneva Fushi is one of the Maldives’ largest island resorts, and one of the most family-friendly. So much so, that it was recently shortlisted for Best Long-Haul Accommodation for Families in the Family Traveller Awards. Holly Tuppen was lucky enough to sample their Robinson Crusoe-style luxury with her two year old in tow.
For people like me (not filthy rich), Soneva Fushi is a once in a lifetime experience. Sadly, my two year old won’t remember what was, probably, the most magical holiday he will ever go on. But that’s not to say it hasn’t had an impact – one month later and he still gets excited seeing sting rays and turtles whenever we go near open water and I’m convinced Blue Planet is watched with a little more intensity. For myself, it is still (and will be for a long while) my happy place when London seems unbearably hectic and life is filled with more chores than joy.
Soneva Fushi son
Whereas some Maldivian resorts are designed for a quick ‘fly and flop’ experience, often tied in with Sri Lanka or Dubai, Soneva Fushi is a destination in its own right. The island takes 45 minutes to circumnavigate by foot (many take only 10 mins) and having been an island resort for over 15 years, the vegetation is lush and dense. The owners, Sonu (who founded Six Senses) and his wife Eva, have been involved every step of the way and they have embedded a sustainable ethos throughout. Within an hour of us arriving at Soneva Fushi, shoes became obsolete and the barefoot luxury vibe was fully embraced.
Soneva Fushi beach
My fear of ‘getting bored’ on a tiny tropical island was completely futile. Sunbathing is not my thing, but I could happily while away a couple of weeks at Soneva Fushi. I spent hours weaving around the island’s sand paths by bike past the giant banyan trees and dodging scuttling lizards beneath a canopy of greenery alive with birdsong. That was my favourite part of every day. Beyond the villas there’s plenty to explore – a house reef full of marine life, beaches for all occasions, an outdoor cinema, a garden growing everything you could imagine, an observatory, a fabulous kids club, a dive centre, a sensational spa, the yoga retreat and eco centre – the list goes on.
Soneva Fushi bikes
Our personal ‘Mr Friday’ worked out our interests and planned as much or as little action as we liked for each day we were there. A key component of said ‘action’ was obviously eating and drinking. With seven dining options throughout the island and much of the produce made or grown on site, food is a serious past time. A special mention should go to fresh sushi, the chocolate room, homemade sorbet, breakfast juices, Fresh in the Garden jungle-top feasts, sunset cocktails and the beachside BBQs. In between such delights, we lounged on our own private beach, snorkelled with a marine biologist, learned to free dive and enjoyed sunset dolphin cruises.
Soneva Fushi villa
Often catering for families that lead busy, urban lives, Soneva Fushi’s ethos is very much embedded in traditional family values. This is a place for kids to be kids again and for adults to switch off and get involved as much as they like. The kids’ club, The Den, factors in ‘family time’ throughout the day and children are made to feel very welcome throughout the entire island. Childcare is top notch, even when kids are too young for The Den which, for those old enough, offers everything from music lessons to snorkelling trips.
Soneva Fushi kids
Villas come in all shapes and sizes, each providing guests with their own slice of island paradise. Living in one of these villas was a complete break from the norm – simple but beautiful inside and out with huge open air bathrooms, sandy gardens and sea views. Our two-bed Soneva Fushi Villa Suite had every luxurious touch we could want, whilst also feeling simple and calming. It was also big enough not to have to worry about a restless toddler. The outdoor saltwater pool offered the perfect respite to the afternoon sun and our upstairs terrace was a little haven for evenings spent stargazing. If holidays are about luxuriating in a more simple existence filled with childlike excitement, then this place has hit the nail on the head.
For more information click here.
For more Maldivian family-friendly accommodations click here.

Gloria Molins founded trip4real in 2013 and it’s been a soaring success from day one. A site that allows users to book bespoke holiday experiences with locals in countries across Europe, the section for families is definitely worth checking out if you’re after something completely different. Gloria Molins chats to about the continuing growth of her business and why it’s proving to be such a success.

Gloria Molins from trip4real

Can you please talk us through trip4real. How did the idea come about and how do users seem to be reacting to it?

I have always loved to travel, and I think the most magical moment when you go abroad is connecting with a local who can take you somewhere unknown; that’s when you really get to know a place and discover the culture. I’m also very entrepreneurial and wanted to set up my own business, so it made sense to combine that with my love of travel. I decided to create trip4real as a way for travellers and locals to have a community in which to connect and discover the true essence of a city together. It’s a much more intimate way to travel and see the world. If you try trip4real the next time you go exploring with your family, I promise the experience will change your perspective and introduce you to a local world you never would have expected. We have had an overwhelmingly positive reaction since launching in Barcelona in 2013, and earlier this year we expanded to London, Paris, Rome and Lisbon, and just recently we launched Edinburgh and Dublin. We now have over 30,000 users around the world, and more than 4,000 experiences available in seven different countries. It’s so amazing to see the growth of the business and hear the personal stories from people who have enjoyed trip4real experiences on their travels.

The trip4real team

Where are the top three places that you would recommend for a family holiday?

I think Barcelona has something for everyone and I’m not just saying that because it’s my home town. Catalunya is so rich in culture, art and natural beauty. For families, it’s perfect because you have both the sea and the mountains. You can rent a holiday home up the coast in Cadaques, and your kids can go on a pirate themed treasure hunt with other kids and explore the local history together.

Pirates tour, Cadaques

Pirates tour, Cadaques

Outside of Catalunya, I think Portugal is an amazing place for a family trip. The size of Lisbon is perfect for a weekend escape and it’s walkable, which is great for families with younger children. Plus, the coast is amazing for swimming, sailing, playing in the sand, hiking and renting bikes. It’s affordable and the locals are friendly, passionate and so full of life. The pastry and sweet culture doesn’t hurt either.

When I was a child I spent a lot of time on the Spanish island of Menorca. I suppose I’m especially attracted to the sea, and I like the idea of kids being able to really run about and be free on holiday. I think without the city stresses, there’s more bonding time and active time for families to have adventures together and get to know the spirit of the people who live there. Why not hang out at the local ice cream shop and listen to the story of the man who built it?

Trip4real on the farm in Catalunya

Hannah and her family enjoying a day out on the farm in Catalunya

What is your first childhood memory of travel?

The first family trip (or at least the first I can remember) was a trip to Paris. I was six and my sister was eight; we stayed there for four days, wandering around the city, dining out, we visited all the museums, the latin neighbourhood, ate Nutella crepes and I even got to “hold” the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero! I remember finding it so exotic. I couldn’t sit still.

Do families with children use trip4real regularly and, if so, what type of experiences do they book? What are the favourite experiences for kids?

Yes, families are loving trip4real. It’s a great way to find activities in a new place and the nice thing is that our tours are bespoke and personal, so there’s room to tailor most activities based on the needs of each individual family. One of my favourite experiences for kids is in Barcelona where you can spend the morning with a shepherd and his family on a farm, with local stories followed by brunch and time with the animals. Another fun one is a visit to a vineyard, where parents enjoy wine tasting while the kids are led by an actress who transforms the tour into a theatrical experience: it is so creative.  And in Rome, we have a hugely popular gelato-making experience, which kids and parents adore. It’s all about creating memories and unique experiences to share with locals and your family.

Can you talk us through a typical day in your life? Can you paint us a picture from start to finish?

I wake up at 7am, then I shower, drink tea and do my morning exercise. This is followed by reading emails and planning the day ahead of me. The morning is when I do the most important things of the day, such as calls, meetings, emails, planing and so on. After that, I walk to the office where I work with my team and have a quick lunch about 2pm. If I have meetings, I try doing them early in the morning or late in the afternoon from 5pm, so that I have the middle of the day to concentrate and get things done without interruptions and with maximum focus. At 8pm, I go swimming (water is one of my passions in life) and I eat dinner about 9pm. The evening is very much about reading, talking, laughing, exercising or relaxing. I don’t have a television at home.