Mama OWL Blog

Arriving at Lakitira Beach Resort, Kos | #ShepsGoToLaki

Monday, 23 November 2015

After finding out that we had been selected as Mark Warner Ambassadors in December last year it seemed to be an age before we finally packed our suitcases and headed to Kos for our family holiday at Lakitira Beach Resort over the October half term. The children were so excited, it was our first trip away all together on a plane as a whole family of seven, and quite possibly our last with A planning on heading off to university and pastures new after she turns 18 next year. As a #MarkWarnerMum family we enjoyed a holiday for five on a half board basis. Being a family of seven and with hungry teenagers to consider, we paid for the additional two passengers and for an upgrade to full board for all of us which meant that we only had to pay for drinks and ice creams from the bars, and the occasional visit to the resort shop for extra bottled water.

The best part of a Mark Warner holiday in my opinion is that everything is done for you. You just have to turn up, and have a good time. The flight was an early one so we took the decision to travel to Heathrow the night before and stay in a nearby hotel so we didn't have to leave until 0500 (instead of 0230 if we had travelled from home). The hotel arranged a taxi to take us to the terminal for our 0720 flight in the morning, and we enjoyed an evening meal together and a good night's sleep before our big adventure.

A photo posted by jooleroo (@jooleroo) on

Check-in was quick and straightforward in the morning - we checked all of our luggage in, made our way through security and then had a little wander before heading to the gate where we explained to the British Airways staff that we were travelling with a child with Autism. They were very helpful and allowed us early entry through the gate and to board with L first to get him seated & settled before the other passengers boarded our chartered flight. In-flight meals are not renowned for their taste but I have to say that British Airways do impress me with theirs, even my kids eat it without argument which is high praise indeed - and not just because they don't have any choice!

After our flight, which was just shy of four hours, we were greeted at Kos airport by Mark Warner staff, given envelopes containing our MW wristbands and then organised on to our coaches for the short transfer to resort - only around 15 minutes. On our arrival at Lakitira the staff took our luggage and it was delivered to our villa for us. We collected our keys and headed off to find our rooms where we took in our suitcases, changed our clothes and then went for a wander to explore the resort. Compared to San Lucianu in Corsica, Lakitira is a large resort with plenty of space to explore. There are two beaches, the 'kids beach' with its narrow strip of sand and shallow water perfect for little ones to go paddling or snorkelling, and the main beach where most of the watersports are located (there are some on the kids beach for them to use during club) as well as a play park, nine tennis courts, two swimming pools and a small paddling pool for little ones in addition to the cycling centre and covered areas for fitness classes.

We attended the welcome meetings in the Stars Bar next to reception where we received all of the relevant information for the week's Indy, Junior, Kidz and Mini clubs and told what the kids would need to take with them to clubs, as well being given general resort information about the spa facilities, resort activities, customer services, and meal times and restaurant locations. We filled in the childcare forms for all of the kids and handed them back, before going back to our villa and unpacking our things. We had a large villa made up of three interconnecting suites, one downstairs for the three boys, and two upstairs - one for the girls, and one for the Mister and myself.

All three rooms were spacious, well equipped and very clean with tiled floors and their own bathrooms (so grateful that I didn't have to share with my sons for the week...), the downstairs room had a small patio and the upstairs suites both had balconies that overlooked the grassy area in front of the kids clubs shacks and the football pitch, which meant that we could watch the kids playing from our rooms. Our villa - striking white against the blue skies with gorgeous pink bougainvillea growing up and around the pergola - was in a great location with stunning views across the sea and set a little way back from the main hotel, it was so peaceful. As we watched the sun set on our first day in Kos, we were delighted with our first impressions of the resort and so excited for the fun that we would have and the memories we would make during our week in the Sun.

Mark Warner Holidays provided flights and half board accommodation for five people as part of the #MarkWarnerMum Ambassadorship. All opinions and words are my own.

Meal Plan Monday 231115

Monday, 23 November 2015

Meal Plan 231115
Monday 23rd November
Chicken casserole
Tuesday 24th November
Sausage, mashed potatoes and baked beans
Wednesday 25th November It's H's 10th birthday today so we are out for a family meal to celebrate his special day
Thursday 26th November
Caveman chilli and brown rice
Friday 27th
Saturday 28th November
Macaroni cheese and broccoli
Sunday 29th November
Roast Chicken

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.

Meal Plan Monday 161115

Monday, 16 November 2015

Meal Plan 161115
Monday 16th November
Steak and (sweet potato) Chips with mixed salad
Tuesday 17th November
Wednesday 18th November Cottage Pie - or Caveman Chilli... I haven't decided yet
Thursday 19th November
Lamb Stew
Friday 20th November
Macaroni Cheese with Broccoli (as requested by E because it's her favourite - this week...)
Saturday 21st November
Pizza (as requested by H)
Sunday 22nd November

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
*Brinner = Breakfast for Dinner (eggs, bacon etc)

The Lost Art of Stocking Stuffing | Gifts for £5 & Under

Thursday, 12 November 2015

On Christmas Eve my kids hang their stockings at the foot of their beds (or rather, drape/throw them down the end) and go off to sleep, wondering what goodies they will be filled with come Christmas morning. But I am telling you now - what they won't contain is a computer game, or perfume, or indeed anything that costs more than about a fiver, maximum. Why is this, you might be wondering..?


Is carefully choosing some thoughtful little presents to fill a stocking for a reasonable price a lost art? I know it's certainly getting harder to buy anything for under £5, but I do have to laugh when I see shops advertising stocking fillers for "Under £20". Those are not stocking fillers. They're just not. I can fill a stocking for the kids from 'Father Christmas' for £20-£25 with lots of lovely things - not tat - and know that they will be loved by the children, and I can save the actual gifts for them to find under the tree.

After I've had an extra half hour snooze that the morning stocking opening affords me.

It's a lot easier to fill a Christmas stocking for my teenage daughter than it is for my teenage son, but as Tara said on Twitter this week - that's all part of the challenge.

It would be simple enough to bung a game or two in there, but that's not only expensive - it's boring. Where is the fun in that? I can go down their lists and choose things from there, but I also want to take the time to find things that I know they will like and get use from that I have thought of myself. Even if it is something as simple as a cosmetic with a shade name that will amuse A, or a little pocket gadget that J will think is cool - it's the thought that counts. It's the time that I have taken to look. It's caring enough to know what their favourite things are and what they will like.

I was pleased to learn that it isn't just me that feels this way, and that others also have their own little stocking traditions. Life On Planet G fills her kids stockings with sweets, smellies & socks, Tara Cain gives her son a Lego Mini figure keyring each year as well as a new decoration each for the tree for both of her children, and Rachel in Real Life like me includes chocolate coins and a new toothbrush in hers every year. Mummy Barrow reminisced about the days when we all got a bag of nuts, a tangerine, and an annual (I used to love getting an annual every year!). It's the little things like this that makes Christmas special. These are the things that we remember - tradition, love, care, thought, time. Not how much money was spent. To me, the Christmas stocking is the place to put those funny little extras... fluffy bed socks, games - pick up sticks & dominoes went down well with the boys last year - or a pack of cards to play with together after Christmas dinner, Top Trumps (my kids LOVE these), "magic flannels", or little beauty knick knacks like make up sponges, lip balms, bobby grips, & face masks.

I asked friends on Twitter to share ideas for places to look for proper stocking fillers, and I'm busy trawling the internet finding the bits & bobs that will be loved & appreciated just as much as any big ticket present. Here's the list we came up with between us for places to shop for quality items and those hidden gems. The traditional, the useful, as well as fun and novelty - and most importantly, a good selection for about £5 and under. Feel free to comment and share your own suggestions!

 Dotcomgiftshop • Wilko • Primark • Hawkin's Bazaar • Tiger •
• The Pound Shop • Poundland • B&M • Home Bargains • Boots • Superdrug •
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