If you were to glance at my Instagram account on any given week, you'd probably walk away with the impression that my taste is for light and bright interiors and that we spend most of our spare time ambling around the local countryside. And you would not be wrong. However, a casual glance a couple of weeks ago would have left you wondering if North Wales had been experiencing some kind of bizarre heatwave ... it's own little microclimate ... and if we'd rid ourselves of our back garden and installed a fabulous pool instead. Actually, I'm probably doing you a great disservice here. One look, and I think you'd have pretty much guessed that we'd left the cold and miserable British shores for somewhere a whole lot warmer and a whole lot bluer instead. We were, in fact, in Kos, and my oh my was it out of this world.
We spent the week at the beautiful Mark Warner Lakitira Beach Resort and I don't know whether it was the flawless service or the stunning location, or both combined, but I experienced the most peaceful and relaxing week that I've had since before the boys were born. That's almost five whole years. Incredible, right?!
I must admit, I often take holiday reviews with a pinch of salt. Different circumstances, varied expectations, the weather, children who actually sleep, children who sit still for more than a minute ... every family is different and what works for one might not work for another. But after reading more than a handful of reviews about Lakitira, talking to families on their second, third and even fourth trip to this laid-back resort, and experiencing it firsthand for myself, I can only think that there's magic in the Mediterranean air. All the things that I'd worried about, been sceptical about, and all the potential problems that had played on my mind before we left, disappeared as suddenly as the grey UK weather the moment we crossed the Channel.
My two biggest fears were not so much about the hotel but mostly to do with whether my littlest would be okay with going to the toddler club (and the evening listening service) as he point blank refused when we went skiing earlier this year. And also if the boys would sleep without waking each other, or us, up and want to head out and do something before the sun had even had chance to rise.
My. Boys. Were. Awesome.
No, my littlest still wasn't all that keen on being dropped off at childcare BUT he was so worn out from swimming in the children's pool all morning, playing in the park and running up and down the beach with ice cream melting in his hands that post lunch, each and every day, he took a three hour nap. Three hours!! Three whole hours!! The same three whole hours that his brother was learning to windsurf, sail and kayak at the mini club. I had time for a snooze, to read a few chapters of my book, sample a couple of sneaky cocktails and talk to my husband. Uninterrupted. Dream come true, right?!
It was a similar story with the evening listening service/film night. My eldest couldn't wait to get there but my littlest wanted to stay with us so we ended up taking him (and colouring books, stickers and cars) to dinner with us. But, without his brother there to wind him up, he sat beautifully for well over an hour while we possibly drank too much wine and definitely ate too many amazingly delicious cakes. We really enjoyed having the little one with us, to be honest, because we rarely get chance to spend time with him on his own. He's such a little character (check out his 'wow, more ice cream' face in the picture below).
The listening service runs until 11pm but the lure of the daily mini disco won out over the films, and my eldest dude insisted on being collected at 8.30pm so he could wow the crowds with his moves. It was hilarious! It made my day to sit and watch the boys dancing with the Lakitira Entertainment Team while Paul and I sat at the beachside Breeze Bar with a beer, the sun setting on one side and little legs jumping up and down to I Am The Music Man on the other. It was definitely a 'pinch me' moment.
And then (yes, it gets even better), worn out from an active day and a later bedtime of 10pm, the boys slept right through the night until 8am. 8am! I'd completely forgotten what it's like to wake up having had the right amount of sleep rather than bleary-eyed and still exhausted. It's amazing! You have energy. Actual energy. And not from drinking way too much coffee. It was a revelation. Sadly, the Mark Warner effect seemed to wear off at baggage reclaim in Manchester Airpot as we've since returned to nightly wakeups at 1am, and 3am, and sometimes 5am. My tan is fading and the dark circles below my eyes are returning. But we have a week of amazing memories to look back on and for that, we will be forever thankful. But more sleep would be nice too.
Disclaimer: Mark Warner kindly gave us a discount on our holiday in exchange for an honest review.