Easter skiing in Val D’Isère with Mark Warner: the perfect choice for families

By Actually Daddy.

Easter skiing with Mark Warner in Val d'Isere - the perfect time to go!

I’ve used my bible, Where to Ski and Snowboard as the basis for my report; it gives a short summary online, and there’s much more detail in the book. It gives a great summary of the pros and cons of a ski trip to Val D’Isère, so rather than repeat what is a very accurate guide I will attempt to add some value around it, based on their reporting structure.

Why go to Val D’Isère with Mark Warner? 

I wouldn’t have thought to choose Val D’Isère as the resort to take my kids  first time skiing, as it has a reputation for some top-notch challenging pistes more matched to my own hunger for difficult terrain and off-piste skiing. But I was wrong – it was great for the kids! In fact, I was given to wondering if its reputation for advanced skiing may well have been the reason for the space and quiet the children experienced on the beginner areas.

Snow Quality: having never done Spring ski-ing I was nervous about the snow quality, but I shouldn’t have worried; there was great cover from bottom to top, and the higher pistes had particlarly good snow quality. Snow was well groomed, and I’ve totally reassessed my view on the best time of year to go. I may not go as far as Actually Mummy in becoming a fair weather skier, but the benefits of a later holiday have certainly grown on me. That said, the off-piste (no-longer skiable at this point in the season) looked amazing and I would love to go back in the thick of the snowfall.

Val d'Isere with Mark Warner - excitement of a beautiful resort

Village charm: Val D’Isère is a pretty village, rather than a purpose-built resort, so it has an authentic feel. Drivers are courteous to skiers, making it easy to walk the 5 minutes to the slopes. The children were awestruck by the scenery – so much so that as we walked them out after dinner on our first evening, an immediate snow angel was required. :)

Extent of the slopes: there was more for the kids than I would have imagined. As the beginner slopes were high up, the snow was great quality, and the fast cable car up and down was an added treat for them. There was plenty of more challenging terrain for the adults, though I’d say the black pistes are relatively easy.  La Sache was amazing for a lone ski on a rare afternoon of the kids wanting to chill at the hotel. A black run into Tignes Les Boisses which was (I kid you not) empty but for me – though it did bizarrely run out of snow at the bottom for a small section, before starting again! Conditions for the kids were great on the Ski Tranquille areas at the top of Bellevarde and Solaise lifts, and the Madeleine Express led to our favourite run of the week, Madeleine, which was always quiet.

Val d'Isere with Mark Warner. Our favourite run of the week

Fast lifts and no queues: the ability to drop the kids off for a 3 hour lesson and still be able to maximise the full range of slopes from Foret at Le Fornet, and Sache in Tignes Les Boisses was a massive plus for me. Queueing was minimal – we were astonished, having expected crowds during the Easter school holiday.

Why Mark Warner?

The Mark Warner staff at Chalethotel le Val D’Isère took all of the angst and hassle out of the trip – letting us focus on the children and on ensuring they had the best possible time. Mark Warner provide a superb package holiday – here’s what we loved about it:

Afternoon tea in Val d'Isere with Mark Warner

Food: with pretty much all our meals prepared for us (we just snacked on the piste, knowing a banquet of cake and soup awaited us at tea time) we really appreciated that there was no need to shop or cook. Cake was amazing every day, and the kids (and me) ate more cake in one sitting than their mother would normally allow in a week! Something about the mountain air convinced us all it was a necessity, I think!

The menu: Val d'Isere with Mark Warner

Kids meal options: they could have had high tea at 5 and gone to bed early while the adults enjoyed time alone. Or they could have had tea at 7 with the older children and then sloped off to watch a film in the kids club. But most evenings they wanted to eat with us, and that worked fine too, with a child-friendly option on the menu every evening. That said, GG chose this holiday to ditch her usual diet in favour of the adult menu, and The Bug expanded his culinary repertoire with Salmon Tartare in a Caper Mayonnaise!

Interconnecting rooms: this was a blessing, meaning the children had their own space, but we were able to keep an ear open for them should they have needed us.

Oxygene ski school in Val d'Isere with Mark Warner

Ski School: Oxygène are the ski school of choice, and Mark Warner had us booked in seamlessly, greeting us at the boot room and getting the kids organised for their lessons every morning. We could have had a leisurely breakfast à deux but we were too excited to get out there ourselves!

Ski passes: gone are the days when you pitch up in resort only to spend 2 hours organising your lift pass. No photos necessary, and Mark Warner had our scannable cards waiting for us on arrival. They sit in your pocket all week and get blipped by the machines automatically – remember those retractable elastic cords you used to faff around with?! I loved the fact that we had the whole Espace Killy pass so that we were able to get over to Tignes in the morning as well as skiing Val D’Isère.

Ski and boot hire: again, this was easy and efficient to manage. Once upon a time we would have spent an age queuing on our first evening to arrange equipment, but Mark Warner had organised everything in Killy Sports next door. We gave our names, and left within 10 minutes, fully kitted out with great quality skis and boots. We were unpacked ready for skiing, and relaxing with a welcome drink within an hour of arrival, and that’s a record in our experience!

Was it different skiing with the kids? Yes of course. But was it harder? Absolutely not. Am I a different kind of skier now I’m the father of 2 small ski fanatics? As the long-suffering partner of a dawn-till-dusk, all-weather, die-hard powder hound, my wife was shocked at how I’ve mellowed. I’d say Mark Warner have a lot to do with that!

Val d'Isere-6 (900x675)

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I’m a convert! Tips for a successful family ski trip.

According to The Bug…

Family skiing is easier than you'd thinkYou may recall that I was a reluctant skier. I was totally happy to sip a hot chocolate while my sister did the energetic bit. But my Dad insisted, and so my Mum set about getting me ready for our first family ski holiday. We spent last week in Val d’Isère with Mark Warner, and the person least inclined to come home when it was all over was me. So how exactly do you prepare a child to enjoy his first ski trip?

Tips for a successful family ski trip:

Book Lessons: I had several lessons at our local slope before we left. I found the group lessons intimidating at first, but a couple of private one-to-one lessons really brought my confidence up, to the point where I was brave enough to head out with the Mark Warner nannies on my first morning in resort.

First ski lesson with Mark Warner in Val d'IsereMark Warner use Oxygène Ski School in Val d’Isère, and they had all our booking notes on arrival. So they knew our experience, they knew that I was a bit nervous, and they knew that being in the same group as my sister was likely to make the first day go a little more smoothly!

Mark Warner ski school OxygeneLabelled up with every manner of contact details, and spottable from just about anywhere on the mountain, we even instilled enough confidence in our parents for them to head out to the black slopes. We waved them off and told them to be careful :)

Eating crepes with nutella is healthy on a family ski holiday!I tell you, that first 3 hour lesson flew by, and it was a different boy who marched his parents off to the piste-side crêperie for lunch. By the way, this brings me to food, and it is entirely healthy to feed a 6-year-old Nutella pancakes for lunch, ok?

I only cried 3 times! The chair lift freaked me out because it was so high up, but now I can get on and off by myself. Which is more than can be said for GG – do you know she fell over and they had to stop the lift?? Duffer!

Back on the piste - tips for family skiing

Contingency plans were afoot to take me back to the chalet – the Mark Warner nannies were quite willing to pick us up and take us back for lunch there, leaving M&D free to enjoy a full day on the piste. But I was having none of it. I wanted to ski. In fact, I wanted to ski every time we paused for breath that afternoon, “Shall we go then?” becoming my stock phrase of the week.

Chilling out - tips for a successful family ski trip

I did chill out momentarily, pausing to eat snow, or sneak ice down my sister’s neck – you know the obligatory behaviour of boys on tour. But it was never long before I was hankering to get back out there.

Tips for a successful family ski trip - ski school lessons with Oxygene

A conversation later that day had me describing my Oxygène ski instructor:

“He’s nice. He’s a bit French though…”

French or not, he managed to see me through a wobble in a white-out on day 2, where a patch of ice momentarily got the better of me, and by the end of the week I was high-fiving “King Julien” (it’s a Madagascar reference, made no sense to M&D either but I liked it) and taking receipt of my Polar Bear award.

Tips for a successful family ski trip - receiving our Oxygene ski school awards.

So how do you go from avoider to convert?

  1. Book lessons – a good teacher is the only way to instil skiing confidence in children.
  2. Choose your resort carefully – you need a good mix of easy slopes (greens and blues) and a simple way to get back to your hotel at the end of the day. Val d’Isère doesn’t have a lot of beginner slopes at the bottom, but there are some fantastic learner areas on the mountain, accessed by a speedy cable car. And Actually Daddy was able to hurtle down the black runs!
  3. Make sure your hotel has everything you need. Mark Warner had all-day childcare, provided most of our meals, and made up our rooms daily, meaning we could focus on family fun.
  4. Take it at your child’s pace. Don’t push, and be ready to take some time away from the piste if they need it. Mark Warner’s crèche was available to us all day, to drop in and out of when it suited our needs, and the nannies were just lovely.
  5. Relax the rules. My mother is a stickler for vegetables, and manners, but for this week I revelled in Nutella pancakes. I may also have been allowed to lick honey off my plate…
  6. Let your child dictate the slopes. We spent a lot of time on one particular green slope in the afternoons, until I decided we needed more of a challenge and stepped us up to blues!
  7. Be prepared to carry more than one set of skis occasionally :)

If you follow the above rules, there’s every chance you’ll have a professional skier on your hands by the end of a week:

Disclosure: our Mark Warner ski holiday and Oxygene Ski lessons were free of charge for the purposes of review. All editorial content and opinions are our own.

Posted in Family Fun, Holidays, Miscellaneous, Travel, Travel Reviews | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

What to pack for a ski trip

… before and after kids.

By Helen

Whilst making a packing list for our forthcoming ski trip it struck me that what I’m taking now is considerably different from what I would have packed 10 years ago, before we had the children. So for anyone planning a holiday in the snow, with or without kids, here’s my advice.

What to pack for a ski trip

Before kids:

  • Fleece headband that matches  your ski jacket – prevents earache,  but avoids the shame of hat-hair.
  • Duty-free Absolut vodka – distracts the mind from occasional sprains and bruises.
  • Multivitamins – with all that delicious cheese and patisserie, it may be tricky to keep up with your 5-a-day.
  • Skinny jeans and your best chenille tops – warm but still chic for  the evenings.
  • Thermals – useful for the torchlight descent – it gets very cold in the evenings on the mountain.
  • Your best underwear – never know who you’re going to meet.
  • Clinique facial sunscreen – kind to skin and tinted for a healthy glow.
  • Swimsuit – swimming pools and hot tubs in the snow are sooo special.
  • Oakley sunglasses – mirror effect optional but great for photos.
  • Hip flask – you can get a dry mouth when you’re skiing.

After kids:

  • A helmet – did you know that alcohol shrinks  the brain? You need all the protection you can get.
  • Haribo – one family pack per day. Distracts the mind from occasional sprains and bruises.
  • Haemorrhoid cream – it may be tricky to keep up with your 5 a day.
  • Torchlight descent? You’ll be nursing a gluwein long before that.
  • Velour jogging bottoms and a fleece for the evenings. Should be able to get away with just the one set if you’re carful not to spill your wine.
  • Big pants – you’re going all out for comfort.
  • Factor 50 sunblock – it’s just not worth the hassle of risking sunburn.
  • Leave swimming things at home – they’re  just going to clog up shower cubicle with chlorinated lycra.
  • Arnica – tablets and cream. Useful if nothing else as a placebo for the hourly complaints of painful feet.
  • Camelpack – skiing is thirsty work.
  • Tena liners – in case of over use of the camelpack.
  • The kids – much cheaper than booking them seats on the plane.*

Packing for a ski holiday

*Note, we do not actually recommend packing your children in a suitcase – I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, and probably not very safe.

Disclosure: we travelled to Val d’Isere with Mark Warner Holidays for our very first family ski trip. Our holiday was complimentary, for the purposes of review. All editorial content and opinion is our own. For more on how it went, pop back every day this week, as we give you the low down on skiing with the kids.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel | 11 Comments

Expressions: Bored

Bored15 minutes is a long time to wait when you’re 6. Even if you do have a comfy bench all to yourself. We were waiting for my sister’s Stagecoach performance. Man they took a long time to get ready.

Bored

 

Still waiting. Wonder if I’ll get the loan of an iPhone if I act it really well?

BoredWill you stop already with the photos?

BoredOh alright then, here’s a smile. Make the most of it – it’s all you’re getting.

Go ahead and link up a portrait that you’re proud of – new or old, anything goes. Grab the badge code if you’d like it, and we’ll share your post and pin it.

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Britmums Live Inquisition!

Wot so Funee? will be taking a break for the Easter holidays, and will return on 22 April. In the meantime I’m excited to be heading for Britmums Live this summer!

She hardly slept the night before. Would her dress be appropriate? Should she have tried to meet up with someone she knew at Starbucks beforehand? What would she do with all those business cards? Surely it was too “look at me!” to hand them out, but maybe too laughable to spread them over tables, hoping nobody would notice until she’d left.

On the day, she marched straight in, then hovered in the ladies toilets, checking her teeth repetetively for stray cereal and lipstick smudges. Where best to sit? Too intimidating to join a group already immersed in excited chatter. Big table, all alone, so everyone arriving would have to speak to her? No, that one there, with just one occupant, nervously checking her phone.

Note-taking: christ there was so much to learn! Writer’s cramp kicked in before the end of the first session, and the words began to swim on the page with the first keynote speech. Gosh she’d love to get up there and speak one day.

She came home shattered, scuttling past the All Bar One full of bloggers catching up over glasses of wine, secretly wishing she fitted into that crowd, but too nervous to insert herself into already established groups. Maybe next year…

My mother is on her fourth Britmums Live this year. She has also been invited by the adorable @AgeingMatron to answer some questions. Seeing as she usually writes about me and my brother, it’s high time we met the woman behind our personas, so here are some introductions to our mum. Done in our own inimitable style ;)

Name: Helen Wills.
Blog: Actually Mummy…
Twitter ID: @actuallymummy.
Height: 5ft 7.
Hair: Blonde. Kind of…
Eyes: Bit of a meh colour, but green if she’s been crying.

Is this your first blogging conference? No, she goes to everything. Can’t bear to miss out.

Are you attending both days? Days and nights (see above).

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014? Gossiping, wine, getting up to shenanigans, squealing, laughing, meeting new people, catching up with old people, the keynote speeches, Emma Freud, Katy Hill, speaking on a panel, going to All Bar One afterwards, bringing home her goody bag for us to ransack…

What are you wearing? This:

My rock chic in River Island

Oh sorry, you meant my mother? Well, it’s anyone’s guess really:

What I'm wearing to Britmums Live?

 

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014? 16 hours of father free-for-all, including a KFC, a late night, a magazine full of tat, a weekend without vegetables and a missed swimming lesson. Oh, you mean my mum again, don’t you? In that case the answer is very simple: more twitter contacts. And a BiBs award, ideally ;)

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? Go back and read those first four paragraphs. A couple of people recently have said how self-assured my mother is, to the point of being a bit scary. You want scary, she can give you scary, but only at 8.30am on a school morning. The rest of the time she’s a bit of a wuss. Remember that when you walk in there and come face to face with a blogger you think is full of confidence. They’re usually bricking it, same as you. Just say hi. If they don’t say hi back, they’re not worth knowing. Or they might be a little bit deaf…

So, now I move on to Aging Matron’s inquistion. She only wants to know 5 things about my mother; she will definitely appear much less scary when you know the answers:

When you look in the mirror what do you see? A girl of 18, wearing blue mascara and a mini-skirt, panicking about late homework, boys who don’t notice her, and friends who have gone off her.
If you could choose one motto/mantra to live by what would it be? Be your own best friend. If you’d dump your friend for saying the things you say to yourself, don’t say them any more. Treat yourself well, tell yourself how fabulous you are, how much you’re achieving, what a good person you are. A CBT once said to me “listen to yourself! If you said all this to your best friend, she’d run a mile!” It really hit home.
Which era would you command a time capsule to transport you to? Oooh Victorian! All those couture dresses, fine dining, and immaculate gardens. (I’d be posh, obviously). I reckon I could have fun in a corset ;)
What was your childhood ambition and have you fulfilled it? God no! I wanted to marry Nick Heyward from Haircut 100 and be a ballerina. Real life has turned out to be much more fun!
If the world were to end tomorrow where would you want to be and what would be on your apocalypse menu? I have never been anywhere more beautiful than The Maldives, and I’ve always wanted to go back. I’d be with my family, snorkelling and soaking up the sunshine. We would eat rib-eye steak, green beans in garlic butter, and fries, because every single one of us requests that for our birthday meal, including the kids.
When did you last change your sheets? What? They’re removable?

If you’re writing about Britmums Live, head over and link up your posts so we can all find each other. See you there! *Does excited little dance.* *Stubs toe.* *Gets back to work.* Ahem.

And if you fancy helping us out with a vote or award nomination we would be honoured. Just click the badges below to go to the voting forms:

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Expressions: the 5 faces of a daughter

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We are starting a new linky. You may have noticed that my mother has been taking a photography course recently. This is a good thing: her photos are getting better, and the blog is looking a bit more professional. It’s also a bad thing: the lens is pointed at my face much more frequently, and no opportunity passes her by. Every emotion is laid bare.

We will post a portrait photo every week on a Friday evening, and hope that some of you will join us with your own photos. There are so many stunning photographers amongst bloggers, and Mummy has turned to the internet for for inspiration to improve her photos, so please join us. There are no rules; tell us the story of your photo, or leave it to speak for itself if you choose.

Here are the expressions which inspired this first post:

The 5 faces of a daughter

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Hurt: I’d been tidying my room (a terrible task at the best of times) and had shut my fingers in a drawer. Sitting by the window, gripping an ice pack, I protested as the camera zoned in, but it fell on deaf ears.

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Tearful: Why? Why do you need a photo of me right now?! Because you look so beautiful. How is that even possible when I’m crying? Trust me, you’re beautiful.

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Circumspect: Really Mum? Do you think I was born yesterday? I am 9, you know, not 2.

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Disdainful: Honestly you must have enough by now, can we stop with the paparazzi act?

Dreaming: of the next thing, of great plans, of  tomorrow…

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The Expressions linky  will be open all weekend from Friday evening. If you fancy adding the badge grab the code from the sidebar. There’s no pressure, but if you do, we’ll return the favour with a tweet and a pin on our new Expressions pinterest board.

Expressions - Actually Mummy

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Girls are amazing – Ask GG

A new campaign by Girl Talk magazine says #GirlsAreAmazing!

Hi this is once again actually GG and I am going to be very serious and talk to you about why girls are amazing. I asked my lovely deputy headteacher to photocopy a survey that I had created last night for my fellow students to complete. I am very surprised about some of the results and hope that it helps you to understand why girls are amazing.

Interests survey shows why girls are amazing

Why girls are amazing:

My results show that more girls like football than boys, and football is not really considered a feminine sport. It also shows that some boys spend time on their clothes or hair which is quite cool because not nearly enough boys care about how they look. :roll: Also it states that lots of boys like tennis which is sometimes thought of as a more girly sport.

Helen says: we structured the survey to take account of what GG already knows anecdotally. A boy in her class won’t go anywhere  without his hair gel; there  is a strong girls presence in the football team, including GG herself. But there are a couple of other results in there that I think are also hugely telling:

  • More girls than boys want to be doctors. I  had my suspicions this might  be the case, and I’m pleased to see that the numbers back them up. 
  • LEGO have cracked it. Actually Daddy wanted that question, perceiving that LEGO is more of a boy’s pursuit. I disagreed, and check the results – complete parity across both boys and girls.

To celebrate its 500th edition (currently in shops) Girl Talk magazine have published the results of a recent poll of young girls’ attitudes:

More than a third of girls aspired to jobs in showbiz and their top 10 careers were either caring, artistic or performing – all in roles traditionally thought of as feminine.

So the fact that a high percentage of girls in our school like the idea of being a doctor is something I find encouraging. I asked GG what she imagines herself doing:

I would like to work in a circus as a horse rider because you get to do lots of tricks and you have a good time and a trapeze artist because I am quite daring and I think it would be fun hanging upside down all the time. This startled me, because it’s not something she’s ever mentioned before! The last time we asked, she wanted to open the UK’s first ever dolphin swim attraction – she even has the business plan for it! I do love the fact that she’s attracted by the daring and the skill though, rather than the sequins.

Girl Talk were also concerned by who young girls are impressed by:

With the exception of children’s writer, Jacqueline Wilson, the Top 10 most admired celebrities were all singers or actors. Sportswomen, politicians and businesswomen barely registered on the list.

Again, I asked GG – which adult women do you most admire?  My mum because she is kind and she does a lot for me; my school teacher because when you ask her for help she comes and helps you and also she’s an amazing teacher; and Jessica Ennis because even though she had a few fails in her career she kept going until she got there.

Girl Talk also asked girls which attributes they would most like to be associated with:

… an overwhelming 80% of young girls wanted to be referred to as “pretty”, “kind” and “funny”, with only 20% choosing “clever”, “strong” or “brave” as important attributes.

I love how my daughter answered this question: how would you like people to describe you? I would like people to describe me as kind and helpful as well as funny and cheerful because I try hard to make people laugh and I like to help people as much as I can. I hope they would also think I’m hard-working, because I am.

Girls are amazing - they like football!

Something which annoys me though, is the feminist backlash that occurs every time a girl plays with a Barbie doll. I’ve been criticised for allowing my daughter to buy products from Lush. There’s a whole other post in this, but for now let me state what I’d like girls to know:

  • It’s ok for girls to play with Barbie dolls. It’s fine for boys too. It’s just a doll.
  • It’s ok for you to like nail polish, popstars, and bubble bath. This does not make you any less likely to achieve your goals.
  • You can be intelligent, hard-working, and ambitious, and still adore baking cakes, or designing dresses. Boys like to bake too.
  • Boys are no better than you. But neither are you better than them. Don’t let feminists tell you what to think.
  • You can be the next Olympic medallist, as well as having sequins on your red dress. Dame Sarah Storey shows how it’s done.

#GirlsAreAmazing: Dame Sarah Storey shows that wearing a sparkly dress can't stop you  being a Paralympic medallist!

Girl Talk want to change the way girls think about themselves, and challenge the “narrow ideal” about what it means to be a girl. With their new #GirlsAreAmazing campaign they have pledged  to include more editorial about inspiring women, confidence tips, opinion pieces from readers, as well as profiling a wider variety of careers and role models.

Girl Talk want to hear from your girls too, so please encourage them to get involved:

  • Grab a copy of the magazine to see each issue’s #GirlsAreAmazing challenge – the current  issue’s challenge is to express yourself with a word or  a video.
  • Tell them why you think girls are amazing; what do you do that’s awesome?
  • Do you know an amazing girl who has inspired you?
  • Is there something in the world that you’d like to change?
  • Grab a pen or email and let them know:  hello@girltalkmagazine.com

Girls Are Amazing
Girl Talk
Immediate media
44 Brook Green
London
W6 7BT

We received a years subscription to Girl Talk for GG. All editorial copy and opinins are our own. To see more from Girl Talk you can find them on Facebook, or Twitter, under the #GirlsAreAmazing hashtag.

If you haven’t voted in the MADs yet, or made your BiB’s nominations, we’d be honoured to have your support – just click on the badges.

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Posted in Ask GG, Life's Lessons, Miscellaneous, News and Media, Parenting | 26 Comments

Wot so Funee? Signs my children are getting older

2014-03-30 Mother's Day 001 (640x630)Mother’s Day, as always, was bliss. I saw some tweets bemoaning the fact that children make for a less than perfect (ie. relaxing) day, but that is not so for me. My children, at 9 and 6, are incredibly good company, well-behaved (mostly), thoughtful, and capable of helping their Dad in the kitchen. Happily, despite his usual tendency to chaos, and his penchant for chilling out, Actually Daddy pulls out all the stops on Mother’s Day. I know, I’m lucky.

Signs my children are getting older

I am very partial  to the children’s usual shopping list – what’s not to like about pic ‘n’ mix? But this year I spied this River Island bag on a shopping  trip with my daughter. I pointed it out to her and suggested she might like to drop hints to her dad. They duly shopped whilst I was running for Sport Relief last weekend. I was greeted yesterday with the excited smiles I’m happy to wake up early for. Then, a moment of uncertainty clouded GG’s face as she handed over her package, and she looked to my husband:

“Dad, did you put the receipt in there?”

She totally gets it…

Wot So Funee? Now, if you have your own post to link, grab the badge code from the sidebar, and click the link below to enter your post. It’s not obligatory, but if you include a link back here in your own post, I’ll return the favour with a tweet-out, and pin to our Funny Kids Pinterest board. If you’re new here you can check out the Wot So Funee? main page for more info.


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How to prepare for a ski trip with children

How to prepare for a skiing trip - get some practice in before you go!

By the Bug…

This winter I’m going skiing. I’ve been pretty nervous, but I’m ready for my first ski trip. In fact I’d go so far as to say that I’m exceeding expectations, and my plan is to ski faster than Mrs Kamikaze my sister before the holiday is over. How have I made this transition from cautious to courageous? It’s simple really – it’s all in the preparation.

How to prepare for a ski trip

  1. Get ski fit: some in our family have been training for long runs recently. This is good as you’ll need cardiovascular fitness on the mountain, where the air is thinner, and your body has to work harder. But you’re going to need core stability, and strong legs to keep you up and schussing when you’re skiing every day.
  2. If it’s your first trip – especially if you’re only 6 – it’s a good idea to get some gentle practice before you go. Build up gradually. Most local ski centres offer lessons, either in a group, or one-to-one. Being a bit daunted, I found a private lesson with a well-selected instructor gave me the confidence I needed to persevere, and eventually to enjoy my skiing.
  3. Check out some videos of skiing to inspire you. All that blue sky and sunshine, smiling faces and hot chocolates – they all conspire to make you want to go!
  4. Have a look at the facilities in your resort. We’ve been getting excited about outdoor swimming pools, kids club activities, and log fires.

I’ve done most of my learning at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead – there’s something about real snow that is easier than a standard dry slope. However today we had a very cool experience at Skiplex in Reading; and it was much cheaper too!

How to prepare for a ski trip - get some practice in!

 

Skiplex is a short revolving indoor ski slope. It’s a bit like the skiing version of running on a treadmill. Check out the video to see how it works:

As you can imagine, with all that continuous skiing, you get plenty of practice, and it’s a major workout to boot! Mummy skived off after her first 10 minute session, claiming the need to take photographs, but I heard her say something about burning thighs! Over the course of an hour’s lesson (priced at £19.99), you get 30 minutes of continuous skiing, with breaks to recover.

Dad, the expert obsessive skier also has these tips on how to prepare for a ski trip:

  • Check the snow report before you go – it’s good to know in advance whether you’ll need goggles for snowstorms, or extra sun-cream for the blazing sun!
  • Are you planning to ski off-piste? If so, check your insurance covers you for this.
  • Get your boots and skis serviced before you go, if you own your own – it’s much more expensive in resort.

We’re ready!

How to prepare for a ski trip: we're ready!

We will be travelling to Val d’Isère courtesy of Mark Warner Holidays, for the purposes of review. Our session at Skiplex was in return for this review. All editorial copy and images are our own.

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Pink – 365 #13

Blossom

You know that time of year when the first blossom appears on trees? You get excited for Spring, but then it stalls. You try to take photographs, but there’s just not quite enough. The branches are still there, just dotted with pink. I found my first candy floss tree this week – great big cotton wool balls of pink. And just look at the sky behind. Like a bag of pink and whites. It made me happy.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd flowers! I got flowers this week, for Mother’s Day. Not from my kids – they will bounce onto my bed in a few short hours, full of excitememt for their mum’s big day. I will make the most of that. I know it won’t be long before it will be a slightly more watered-down enthusiasm that greets me. For now they relish the prospect of Mother’s day, and so do I. The hyacinth from school that I have been instructed to water, but not to look at; the whispered secrets with their dad before bed; the inevitable early start.

I can’t wait. Happy Mother’s Day all.

Thank you Next for the beautiful flowers that afforded me my best photos this week. If you haven’t voted in the MADs yet, or made your BiB’s nominations, we’d be honoured to have your support – just click on the badges.

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