The UK was recently battered by 'Storm Doris', and although I didn’t experience too much of the stormy weather myself, it definitely got me dreaming of sunnier climates and sandy beaches. I know we were just in LA which was much warmer than London, but it wasn’t the best weather and rained pretty awfully for most of the time we were there, so I don’t feel too ungrateful dreaming of another holiday so quickly.
But are holidays ever that relaxing when you have young kids with you? Being an avid sun worshipper this was one of the major life changes I've had to grapple with over the years. Gone are the days of packing a suitcase full of the bestseller books to devour as I lazed all day on a sun lounger sipping rose wine and dozing off every now and then when it all got too much. I’m lucky now to get on a sun lounger for an hour, let alone the whole day. If I'm to get any sort of tan it is from running around after the kids. And so I feel it is my duty to let all you Mum’s & Dad’s out there, who like me want to try and have the most relaxing time they can have in pretty unrelaxing circumstances, know about the dreamy family resort Sani in Halkidiki, Greece.
We went to this incredible haven when I was in the early stages of pregnancy with number 2, and our son had just turned 2. It was a family trip to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday, and we were 6 adults and one little boy, so to go to such a family friendly resort with adults that didn’t have little ones with them, it definitely had to tick a lot of boxes to please everyone. And that it absolutely did. Sani is a huge resort comprising of 4 different parts of the resort. We stayed at the Porto Sani Suites which I would definitely choose again when we go. They were close to all the incredible amenities and the rooms were fantastic sizes. My son's cot was in a completely different part of the room to ours and the wonderful staff came immediately to our room on arrival when I freaked about the light coming through a window to fully black it out for us. All the staff were the most helpful, friendly, lovely people and it felt like no ask was too unreasonable or unheard of. They would wash our baby bottles for us with a smile and there was even puree options of food on the menu for those early weaning months. I fell in love with the place. My son is a really fussy eater (post on that to come soon!) so he survived that week on chips, peas and pasta, but if he did eat there were such fantastic kids options throughout the whole resort.
The piece de resistance of the place is the Sani Marina that is part of the resort. Often with all inclusive hotels you can sometimes feel a bit trapped like you are never leaving the place, and it can make you a little stir crazy. But we weren’t there long enough to even eat in half of the offerings. Sani Marina feels like you are out of the resort and at a port in the town of where you are. When in fact, all you’ve done is walked a few minutes from your room. It is full of restaurants, shops and boats. There is everything from Italian, Japanese and of course Greek food. I absolutely loved the marina, and especially the short walk back to bed after, which was great with our son, who we kept on London time, and so he was awake with us for all of our dinners. It was convenient and classy.
The daytime is when one really struggles with young children as they are active and wanting to do activities and be kept entertained all day long. But being an overtired parent you dream of being able to relax in the sun even if it's for a quick 20 minutes here or there - so what truly made the holiday an actual relaxing break was each beach had a 'Babewatch station' where they would watch your kids for 20 mins at a time, completely supervised. These 'Babewatch' areas were full of toys and would appeal to even the most clingy of kids - my son loved it and would happily play there whilst I lay a few meters away and reflected on how I had never appreciated sunbathing pre-kids.
There is also the most fantastic kids club (friends have raved about it to me) named 'Melissa Mini Club'. I didn’t actually put our little one in on this trip as there were so many of us adults to divide the time, but should we go as a family of 4 now I would not hesitate to check it out. It looked amazing and all I ever saw were the happiest kids playing and enjoying their time there.
What I did experience a lot of were the playgrounds which were right by the beach. I personally had never been to a resort that had playground facilities within it, and this was fantastic for my son when he got restless on the beach. The most amazing playground I found was at the Sani Beach Club. This was a short hotel shuttle bus away (and also had the two best restaurants with the most insane views). On the evenings that we were eating at the Beach Club we would go early so our son could play before dinner, and so we would be there as the sun set, which is a pretty phenomenal way to experience a park and sure beats the cold days in Queens Park currently. Although one hazard to a park before dinner is my son was all dressed up one night and landed in a muddy puddle (due to a day of rain). Thank the lord for baby wipes which managed to make him look slightly acceptable for our dinner.
I haven’t even touched on the incredible pools that the resort offers, which were hard to get my son out of, or the ridiculously amazing breakfast buffets which offered every food you can dream of, or the day boat trip we took out which was such fun. Greece has phenomenally clear sea and white beaches. If you haven’t been I’m telling you, you will not regret it. You will feel some semblance of relaxation and might just come back with a tan and a peaceful look on your face. Now the test is to see if that is the case with 2 little ones. At least I know the 4 hour plane journey will be a breeze thanks to our KeepEmQuiet kids travel kits.
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With lockdown looming once again, families across England will be spending more time together at home this month than usual.
We have curated a list of lockdown entertainment ideas on how to keep children busy and happy, from indoor crafting ideas to creative ways to get them outside.
The tips range from ones that can be done online, like exploring a museum through a virtual tour, to art projects, so that there is something for everyone!