Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project • Holiday preparations what to pack in your carry on

This week couldn't be more different to the last, hence the very late posting of my monthly family photo! We spent last week under the sunny skies of Kos in Greece on our first ever family holiday with just the four of us. A whole week of each other, thousands of jumps into the swimming pool, countless ice creams in one day (the one ice cream a day rule totally went out of the window) and too many memories to fit into one post. 

As I write this I have the folder open with all our photos and videos and quite frighteningly there are 1289 of them! I couldn't believe we had snapped so many as I felt like I hadn't taken enough photos on the plane home and was worried I wouldn't be properly able to do a Mark Warner holidays justice! 

I have so many things from the holiday I want to share, but this past week has flown by in a blur. The boys have been UK jet setters, being passed from Surrey to Somerset to Dorset, staying with grandparents whilst I've been working flat out on the new Honeybuns recipe book shoot. It's been a logistical challenge, Rich has been on 100% house duty, juggling boys drop offs and pick ups, cooking and holiday washing and I've come home each night and flopped! It's been the absolute highlight of my photography work to date and I got in the car yesterday as we called it a  wrap (Yes we actually all exclaimed "That's a wrap!") and had a little cry. A mix of relief and pride!

So for this month's Me and Mine post I want to share some holiday snaps, a collection of selfies, nothing fancy but full of happy memories. Part of me wishes I'd taken a tripod and a "proper shot" but then a bigger part of me thinks these are the real photos of our holiday. Capturing a moment. And even if they don't print as well as I'd like, the fuzzy hazy grain will just just make them all the more precious. Because each one of them makes me happy. The boys loved saying we were the cool kids on the back of the coach transfer and feeling like grown ups with slushy cocktails at the beach bar. Holiday shirts and holiday dresses, dinner with the boys in pjs  and sun kissed cheeks.

We'd been looking forward to this holiday since we found out we had been chosen as one of Mark Warner's Ambassadors this year. Life has been so hectic, trying to grow the tea business, juggle all my work commitments manage the boys school activities, changing schools for September and renovating the house. We sometimes feel there isn't a moment to breathe. I was packing for holiday literally in the hours before we left to lead to my mum's who lives just outside Heathrow airport and en route we stopped to shoot a feature for Joules! 

I squeezed in pre holiday shopping by staying up late and ordering bits on express delivery and as Rich was tearing around the house, locking up doors, putting the recycling out, popping a key to the neighbour I was of course snapping some photos of our hand luggage! As you do!

I love seeing what people pack, I've picked up tips over the years from lovely flat lay photos so here is what we took in our carry on luggage. What else do you take for a stress free journey?!

From top to bottom, left to right: Favourite magazines Hooray and Suitcase // smaller shoulder strap handbag for decanting purse and passport once through the one hand luggage bag check in // spare pants // pancake lens for my Canon - much more practical for around the resort! // MAC Studio Fix powder foundation // mini make up bag // emergency first aid - baby wipes, plasters, Calpol, Sudocream, paracetamol // extra small present for the plane - Top Trumps is always a winner! // iPhone // Tic Tacs // GoPro // Hair kit - fold up hairbrush, clip and band - my hair always feels like it gets greasy in a second on the plane - is it the cabin air?! // emergency wash kit - deodorant, perfume, suncream // notepad and pen // holiday book // camera cards // plastic bag THIS IS ESSENTIAL I always wish I packed more, for rubbish on the plane, for an extra bag, for scooping up toy parts that won't fit back in a box // emergency snacks // School bear - Ollie has a holiday project for his new school to write up his summer adventures with his little friend //swimming costume - if you lose your luggage you can still jump straight into the pool! // large bag you can recycle as your beach bag // laptop - every year I try and leave it at home but I knew I'd want to share a few photos from my big camera whilst we were there! // holiday purse - you don't need your full purse with all your loyalty cards and old receipts! Just take a smaller more streamlined version. // more emergency snacks. Always more snack!

Rich's hand luggage was a bit of a contrast...

Headphones // speaker - we love a bit of music in our room when we are getting ready! // Oakleys // iPhone // holiday wallet // passports // notepad and pen // Plug bug //GoRuck // Laptop // iPad - incredibly the boys used this just twice, on the plane there and on the way home! // inhaler // Plug bug bag - so handy for all your cables // magazine. The magic of Mark Warner means you get grown up time in the day time - woooooo hooooo!

The boys had their cute rucksacks - I've learnt that those pull along cases look fun but I find them hard work! They bash into people, they open up completely and everything seems to just spill out! I prefer smaller rucksacks that they can actually carry themselves, we've tried bigger ones but they end up moaning that they are too heavy and we end up like packhorses, struggling through departures!

Their hand luggage looks like this - snacks // games // snacks // games // swimming shorts // snacks // games. You get the point! I find the easiest way to keep them entertained on a flight is with endless short games, cards, colouring, spirograph, small puzzles, origami, and we even took a small Lego set this time. 

At 4 and 6 we are kind of passed the need for spare clothes, there's no nappies or bottles. I find the best snacks are dry and no sticky sweets or chocolate. Cereal pots are fab for an early morning flight, and an encyclopaedia means you have a thousand books in one. Individual books end up being the heaviest part of a child's hand luggage so find a compendium and ease the weight!

What else would you suggest?!

I can't wait to share our holiday and what we really thought of the Mark Warner experience, behind the glossy photos, the sunshine and the blue sea. The staff, the food, the facilities, the childcare. Is it all as fabulous as you can make it look in a photo?!

This was one of my favourites, even though it was as we said goodbye to Greece! I was filming the boys walking up the steps to the plane and the kind member of the airport staff in his high vis jacket saw me and wandered over. He signalled to me that he would take a photo of us and shooed me up the steps! I could have kissed him! 


Every month it's amazing to see so many following this monthly portrait tradition. I was talking to a few new friends on holiday about it and one mum said that they hadn't taken a single photo all week which had her in it!

Family photos are so important, they are your history and whether they are beautifully posed or a snapshot of that second in time they are just as precious! Share your family portraits with us and head over to Fritha's blog to see what her soon to be family of four have been up to in July. They have just found out if there is a pink or blue one on the way! How exciting!