Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Skiing with a toddler: Our Holiday

If you follow me on Instagram you may well have seen that we jetted off to the french Alpes for the pre Christmas week. I love ski holidays, I think they even beat sunshine holidays. The combination of the beautiful scenery, the amazing food (how much melted cheese can you eat in one week is always put to the test!), the apres, and not to forget the actual skiing, puts lying in the sun well in the shade.

Throughout my twenties we religiously went skiing every year, sometimes on a shoe string of a budget, but we made it happen. Now little Sophie is on the scene, we’ve promised ourselves that if we can still make it happen we will. Last year we went away with my husbands family and stayed in a catered chalet with myself, my husband and the grandparents all taking shifts to look after Sophie, taking her up the mountain for lunch a chocolate chaud meet ups. But now she is running around, this didn’t seem so feasible.

After an amazing summer holiday with Mark Warner, we decided that we would try out their ski offering. Going so early in the season the main criteria was getting a snow-sure location and Tignes with its height and glacier was the recommendation. Mark Warner have two Chalet-Hotels in Tignes, and as the brother in laws were also bringing their ladies this year (to my enormous excitement being outnumbered for the last decade!), a hotel made more sense over a chalet, giving everyone a bit more of their own space.

We opted for Chalet Hotel Aiguille PercĂ©e in Tignes du Lac as it is as close to Ski in, Ski out as you can get, just having to cross the quite road before you are surrounded by a collection of lifts to take you up the mountain. The location was also in the middle of the village resort which has a range of restaurants, shops, bars and coffee shops to enjoy post skiing.

For Gareth and I the main attraction of Mark Warner was the childcare. We knew from our summer holiday that the nannies are  British and well trained, so Sophie would be in safe hands. Space in Ski accommodations is always in demand, so I was delighted to see the toddler room was a reasonable size and filled with amazing toys. Sophie had a ball, she loved the nannies, so happy to see them and play every morning when we dropped her off, with a different toy set up played out to get her excited about her day. The nannies also seemed to love their jobs and the children. 

On morning, it was pretty much a white out, we stopped for a coffee right by the hotel deciding whether to go for another run not being able to see more than a foot in front of us, or head in for a bit and we spotted Sophie with her nanny Eleanor out for a walk and she was constantly talking to both of the little girls, pointing out interesting things for them to look at and they all seemed to be having a lovely time, which made me so happy.

Another Mark Warner perk is that the majority of their flights are chartered with BA, so a large luggage allowance and great service are include. When we booked there was a range of flights to choose from, so we were able to opt for sociably timed flights stopping any gastly 3am alarms being set for 6am flights. We took off at 10.30am which seemed a perfectly acceptable time to tuck into a complementary Bloody Mary whilst Sophie played sticker books with one of her doting grandparents, uncles or honorary-aunties!

The creche ran 9-5pm so you could ski all day, have lazy lunches and have time to have a hot shower before picking up the little ones in time for children’s high tea. There was always something that I knew Sophie would eat (although her teething this week meant a few days only an Ella’s much would do!) and the adults enjoyed afternoon tea at the same time.

My Base Layer

Mark Warner also runs evening childcare, so the parents can have dinner in the restaurant. We dropped a PJ clad Sophie with her milk to watch the disney film of the evening before being put down in travel cots or sleeping pods before being collected before 10.30pm. Sophie was amazing at then going straight to sleep in our room once we got back and slept perfectly all night. 

The food was really good - two evening were buffet style, and the other five were three-course a la cart and always resulted in clean plates. The included wine was also really good, resulting in a few mornings with sore heads - we only tried out the rose on the last nigh, expecting a overly sweet dark pink number, but a pale blush rose was served and was my favourite. One evening, food isn’t provided but babysitting until 11pm is, giving you the opportunity to go out for dinner. We opted for The Alpine Kitchen (the restaurant to the Langley Hotel) which was delicious, very contemporary design which was a gorgeous and a change from our snug rustic hotel.

We found some amazing lunch locations, our favourite for a sunny day was Le Panoramic Restaurant which offered beautiful views. It was situated at the top of the funicular lift from Tignes Val Claret. The roast chicken and chips from the self service was reasonable and sitting next to the fire pit was the best spot. 

Our other top spot was The Grizzly Bar in Val Claret. The decor of the log cabin was amazing, with a beautiful outdoor area to enjoy in the sunshine, but it was also super snug and cozy inside if the weather wasn’t great. We spent a happy long lunch here on a last day, enjoying the alpine BBQ and a glass of rose.

We had an amazing holiday, and I would really recommend Mark Warner for a family ski trip. The staff were amazing and always so helpful, Sophie loved the hotel manager and he would let her with Peppa Pig on his computer and she would always want to go and see him when we were near reception. The other guests were like minded and when Sophie had less than angelic moments(!) generally the looks given were sympathetic and ‘we’ve been there’ and when Sophie did here tour round the hotel bar to see everyone before going to evening childcare the other guests would chat away to her.

As we were such a big group, we didn’t get involved in some of the social aspects that Mark Warner also provide, such as the social dinner table and the ski groups, but if we’d gone away just the three of us, these would have been lovely touches to help make friends.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into my skiing holiday and its convinced you that skiing with a toddler is achievable!

Friday 13 January 2017

New Make up for 2017

Its been the first 'proper' full week back at work and into trusted routines. However, there have been a few little updates I've made to my makeup setup having had a little time to play with some newbies over the festive break.

Although my skin has had some recovery since the indulgence of Christmas, getting a new base to help blend away my flaws. I'm really loving KIKO Skintone Foundation which is gives enough coverage but not too much to be cakey.

I'm a little late to the contouring party, the look seemed a little too done-up and time consuming to fit into my lifestyle. However, Clarins have now added their offering and if anyone is going to get it right (by my standards!) The three in the pallette are more subtle than others I've tried (and given up on!) so blending isn't such a math task and the instructions and 'map' of where to put the different shades is helpful. I'm not going to be contouring daily at all, but for a special occasion when I want to look my best - I'll be using.

I've been loving Burberry's Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base. Wearing it underneath my base gives a dewy and fresh complexion (which has been needed with some sleep deprived days recently!) or, if I haven't being playing with the contouring palette,  applying to cheekbones and my cupids bow to highlight using a damp makeup sponge.

Sounding like a real make up rookie here - I've only just discovered Charlotte Tilbury but only after a short time, I'm in love with the brand. My absolute favourite that I've discovered so far is this Luxury eye Palette in Legendary Muse. I love naturals and the quad of champagne golds and softer bronzes is so easy to apply and for easy to wear. Really highly pigmented you don't need much of the powder at all - so it will really last.

Clinique have just last week launched Crayola Chubby Sticks, limited edition range of shea and mango butter coloured lip-stick-balms. Adding an injection of fun into my makeup bag and my complexion, swapping to pinker shades (This is tickle me pink) to get ready for spring. I always have dry lips and having the balm consistency and hydrating ingredients is fabulous this time of year,

I've raved about this mascara before (Too Faced Better Than Sex), and I'm sure I will again, it is my absolute favourite, lengthening and volumising like no other, combining with being a dream to remove I don't think this one will be beaten for a while. Two (or tree if you can be bothered!) coats gives you a dramatic look, wears a quick wiggle of the wand gives you gorgeous daytime lashes.

Saturday 7 January 2017

The Muscat Diaries: Al Bustan Palace Brunch

It has been a while since I posted about our holiday in Oman, with Christmas posts and my little blogging-break over the festive period. Looking out onto this grey and damp weekend I’ve enjoyed editing my snaps from our sunny trip to the Middle East and its got me itching to plan another break from Blightly.

One of the highlights out holiday was going for friday brunch at the Al Bustan Palace. No where does luxury like the Middle East, and even though Oman is more relaxed than its cousins of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the hotels are just as opulent.

In the UK brunch is now the weekend activity, but this was a whole new level. Bottomless Veuve Clicquot, with the naughty waiters never letting our glasses get below half mast and the food was just to-die-for.

 Sea food was where the brunch really shone, oysters, delicious smoked salmon, massive plump prawns and not to forget the sushi bar, I ate more than I needed to just here!

But then the BBQ called, oh my. To make the most of the delicious spread, you need to arrive as soon as the brunch opens, so you can spend the whole lazy afternoon gorging yourself.

If bubbles aren’t your thing, there is a well stocked bar of different options to choose from - including coconut cocktails, which was too pretty not to pose with on the beach!

My watch: Shore Projects

Little Sophie was such an angel, having some food and then enjoying her afternoon nap in a shady spot. The older children were well catered for, with bouncy castle androids of toys to keep them happy and occupied - as well as having the beach to play and explore.

The Al Bustan Palace was also such a beautiful hotel, and I wished we’d visited earlier during our trip so we could have visited it again.
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