Tag Archive - holiday

09.09.15 Summer I loved you long time…part two: France


Their first surf lessons in Seignosse, Hossegor. Seb’s first tooth came out. We collected sand, stones and shells, crab claws, frogs, bugs and memories. And water blisters on their fingers from how long they spent in the water. Everyone had gone back to school and the beaches were bare. It was bliss.






synchronised swimming kids

metallic tattoos

chalkboard living in hossegor


24.10.14 Sibling love: How to keep them loving each other



sibling love


I really can’t explain the bond between siblings. I have 3 children. They are all close, individually with each other and as a three. But how have I encouraged this and what do I do to keep it this way?

(P.S. They are 7, 5 & 3…I can’t promise this will work forever but it has done us all pretty well so far 😉

1. Keep them physically close

My youngest two still sleep together, in single beds they want pushed together so it’s like them sharing one bed. I might as well have put them both in a double. I shared with my sister until I was nearly a teen and loving or hating her at times it’s like sharing a dorm or a house at university. You are bound by a shared experience and a physical closeness of being a team, sharing a space. It won’t work for everyone but if your children want to sleep together don’t dismiss it just because you have enough bedrooms for them all.

2. Promote a positive family expectation in discussions and arguments.

I don’t allow my children to talk badly to each other whenever possible. They have to explain themselves to each other and apologise. Properly. Kiss, cuddle, make up, whatever! But it has to be genuine. I tell them that in life your family is always first. That we will all be here for each other no matter what and that means thinking about your brothers and sisters when planning things and playing games too.

3. Enjoy playing and holidaying together

We love to take them on holiday. Luckily we can afford to do this every year and for us its a priority. I’d say most of our favourite memories and experiences come from a trip somewhere and one that we have taken together. Neither of my parents are alive but i have a special bond with my sister even though we don’t see each other often, because we shared a childhood of memories together that no one else has shared with us….and yes we definitely hated each other a lot at points too! I recently met someone with a large family of brothers and sisters, all now with their own families. She said they were all still really close. I asked how and she told me that every Summer her parents rent a house for 6 weeks and invite everyone to stay. They all manage to cross over staying there for at least a few days and that special time is what keeps the families connected and still making memories even though they are all grown up.

4. Visual encouragement

I’m a visual person. Everything I see matters and it also influences me on a daily basis. I think my children may learn in this way too. If Lola doesn’t want to go swimming, if i show her a video from my phone of her swimming unaided and show her what she is capable of its like she suddenly remembers and is a lot less resistant about going. It’s the same with the way they act towards each other. If I take photos of them having fun together or even of places or things that we have done together it triggers a memory of positivity towards each other. Keeping or showing them photos or videos of them together often brings out a sentimental part where they want to create how good they felt and this has an immediate effect on how they interact with each other.

5. Don’t expect too much

I like my children to have a caring responsibility for each other. If they fall over, help them up, check they are Ok etc. but not many children want to be 2nd parents to their siblings. They are siblings and friends and over and above looking after each others well being I would not expect them to ‘babysit’ each other. This generally leads to resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction about their role in the family.

6. Finally spend time on each child individually

This is easier said than done but there should always be times every so often where each child can feel special without his siblings being there. One on one time with your children is the fastest way to boost feelings of happiness and make each member of the family seem important, even if this is done inside the home whilst the others are occupied. I try and spend an extra 10 minutes at night sitting talking and reading with all my children and I love buying experiences for their birthdays as opposed to things so that they get a memory which lasts, sometimes together and sometimes just for them.



02.08.14 Lola’s first ponytail

First ponytail, holiday greece

Sometimes the smallest things seem unimportant but actually it’s often these little moments that we remember over the big picture. I’m trying to work on being mindful in the moment and finding the easiest way to remember special little moments is to record them, instagram them, write them in the notes section on my phone.

This week we are on holiday and one of my favourite little moments of this week will definitely be Lola’s first ponytail. She has never before kept anything much in her hair but in the heat of the day, she came to me and asked with her pigeon speech,

‘Me ponytail?’

I think I love her little ponytail very much.


16.04.14 Travel: Hill House Norfolk

hill house norfolk

hill house norfolk

hill house norfolk

A weekend in Norfolk…with the kids. Six adults, 9 children. One word – LUXFUN!

So you have to understand the first thing I type when looking for anything is the word ‘luxury’. I don’t always want or need luxury but without it i seem to pull up the dregs of the internet. Hill House Norfolk however definitely is up there with the term ‘luxury family weekend’.

It’s not often you can rock up to a self catering rental to a giant sized cocktail glass of sweets in the hallway, bottle of champers, and a mountain of lemon meringue cupcakes in the kitchen just waiting for you. This was no ordinary weekend self catering accommodation.

To see the rest of the images and full review please click on the link below. Continue Reading…


08.01.14 Bill & Coo Suites Mykonos : So this is where you come without the kids

Christmas is over and I’m already thinking of Summer. Last May some friends and I spent a weekend in Mykonos at the Bill & Coo Suites. I’m feeling this is the time to pull out those blue sky pictures ready for a fresh bright new year.


Bill & Coo Suites are a collection of 24 rooms all based around a stunning pool, bar and restaurant in the centre. It’s small, and when I say small I mean intimate, not pokey. It’s stunning location is the first ‘Wow!’ but when you step through the door and view the design and styling of the hotel, I was really sold. I knew we’d come to the right place. It’s a chilled hotel, where serene trendy music hums in the background and people whisper not to annoy other guests. It’s not for kids…or loud shouty people, but if you can handle that you’ll be hooked. The staff are friendly yet incredibly professional and couldn’t do enough for us including giving us a phone to take out with us one night in case we got stuck in the town and couldn’t find a taxi back. We never wanted to leave. I think you can see why.

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

Breakfasts everyday were a treat to the senses.

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

The rooms were clean, sleek and white. Greek perfection.

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

I fell in love with these units imported from Italy. The chefs were very proud of their workplace too. Such a great feeling ran everywhere through the hotel from the staff to the guests.

bill and coo suites mykonos

bill and coo suites mykonos

It’s not cheap when you are there with cocktails working out around  17 Euro’s each but if you are careful and you eat out in the town some nights it balances itself out and is totally worth it for how relaxed you’ll feel when you leave.

bill and coo suites mykonos


Now I’m just crossing my fingers 2014 might be a good time to take a trip back 😉


02.09.13 France with kids: Hossegor

Where we stay in South West France is close to two of my favourite towns. Hossegor is one of them and where I’d live if I could have a second house… and a few spare million in the bank.


It’s a surfer town full of the cool kids. It’s charming, and laid back, with a swag of arrogance about it too. It’s the French version of Newquay with a lot of style. Even we had to tape down our wallets to stop ourselves buying Sebby a £100 skateboard, just because it was so damn cool. There are loads of cafes, surfer shops and small independent boutiques. You won’t find tons of children’s toys or clothes here but the kids were quite happy checking out the surfboards and skateboards and choosing gelato ice cream from what seemed like over 100 flavours.

hossegor gelato

It’s a well known World Class surfing spot, hosting the Quicksilver Pro France Competition stage of the ASP World Tour. It has sandy beaches which are also good for swimming, making sandcastles and general people watching and is patrolled by lifeguards between mid May and September. Apart from the beach however, there is also a canal and a huge seawater lake (du lac) which is surrounded partly by sand and on one side, large pathways and steps perfect for walking, cycling and fishing from. You can also take out pedalos for those kids that like a little water adventure.

Plus about 50m from the lake and the shopping centre is a shaded children’s playground, with a carousel and snack bar, perfect for a break from the shops or the heat of the Summer. Cycling is one of the best ways to get around but it’s not too big to walk around the main centre and take it all in. Summer can get busy for parking although you’ll generally find a space up a side street and walk into the centre.

The houses are a real mix of traditional French and stunning contemporary creations. There are a lot of new houses which could give any design lover a lesson in successful modern architecture and this in itself is worth exploring the area for.

My tips… after going to the beach:

Buy nets and fish at the side of the lake. Especially when the weather is not that sunny. It’s a great way to pass a few hours looking for baby fishes and crabs!



My favourite homeware boutique: L’air du Sud 2 .

Our favourite eating spot with kids; Salon du the Marcot. It has  a small section inside and out but a larger seating area in the middle square opposite the restaurant, which had a fantastic atmosphere. A great choice of food including burgers, Croque Monsieurs and salads. They also did a mean mojito and the service was quick and with a smile with most staff speaking some English. I will say everyone in Hossegor seemed to just have one child or maybe two. We rolled about with 6 between us and so it did seem a little like a walking school sometimes and we did get turned away from one restaurant who I think were scared of a child invasion! After finding this little gem, who were happy to accomodate us, we ate here twice.

hossegor cafe

Take or hire some bikes for getting around.


Or enjoy the people watching whilst eating gelato (that’s ice cream to you and me!)


For more details check out inhossegor. The independent guide to Hossegor, France.


19.08.13 We’re Home

chalk family









09.08.13 My Holiday Stuff: Arabella age 4…just

I asked the kids this week. What couldn’t you live without on holiday? Here’s what they picked. I love to see the difference in the kids, between what’s most important to them right now.

This last one makes me laugh. She had to include sweets!

rabella's favourite things age 4

1. Molly the Monkey. Cause I can dress her up and she’s cuddly.

2. My new headphones. Mummy got these for me so i can sing along to music in the car.

3. Nail Varnish. I like it when my mum gets to paint my nails.

4. Playdoh. I got this for my birthday. It was my birthday on holiday!

5. Sweeties. Because they are yummy!

6. My Owl lunch box. I just got this for my birthday. I opened my presents on holiday. It’s fun to play with.

7. My Blanket. I’ve had this since I was a baby.

Arabella and her blanket age 4

Photography and Styling by Tracey Chalk. Post production on images by Louise Freeland.

If you missed the others (below) all this week. Start from the beginning of the ‘My Stuff Series’ here.

My holiday stuff kids

See you next week! Au revoir x


07.08.13 My Holiday Stuff: Henry aged 10

I asked the kids this week. What couldn’t you live without on holiday? Here’s what they picked. I love to see the difference in the kids, between what’s most important to them right now.

I’ll post one every day this week. This is the 10 year old gadget boy version 😉

Arsenal, sunglasses, rucksack, ipod, kindle, underwater camera

1. Arsenal Rucksack. It’s a really easy way to store all my essential stuff. And it has a little pocket where you can put your toothbrush and toothpaste. Plus, it’s Arsenal.

2. My Kindle. It’s really good especially on the journey here and at night. I finished all the Doctor Doolittle books and I’m now on my 5th Lemony Snickett!

3. My ipod touch. I watch movies on this and when you’re bored you can play games on it and listen to music. This is probably my favourite holiday item.

4. Underwater Camera. That’s just really good for the pool for taking underwater pictures. It’s my favourite colour blue and it’s just amazing.

5. Sunglasses. They just help me look really cool and obviously shade the sun, which there’s a lot of.

Henry age 10, www.chalkboardliving.com 050813_0462

Photos and styling by Tracey Chalk. Post production on images by Louise Freeland.


06.08.13 My Holiday Stuff: Phoebe age 8

I asked the kids this week. What couldn’t you live without on holiday? Here’s what they picked. I love to see the difference in the kids, between what’s most important to them right now.

I’ll post one every day this week.

Phoebe, age 8, favourite, build-a-bear, bikini, kindle, hairbands

Hearts my pink cat. She’s was my 8th Birthday present when I went to see Matilda in London. She’s a Build a Bear cat and I like to sleep with her at night.

My Kindle Fire. I like to listen to music on this and play games but mostly I love the music.

My new bikini. I have been swimming almost every day.

Hairbands. My mum puts plaits in my hair and gives me new hairstyles on holiday which i really like.

Phoebe and her favourite build-a-bear

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