My family holiday legacy from the 1990s

French holiday

If there’s one thing I want to pass onto my children as they grow up, it’s the memory of summers spent as a family, exploring somewhere new. This is a legacy that comes from my own parents who took me and my sister on long adventures every summer, travelling to every corner of France.

Growing up with two teachers as parents meant we were lucky enough to have a full six weeks to play during the holidays. We took our first trip to France when I was around six years old, heading to a campsite in Brittany. I can still remember the excitement waking up on the back seat of our car, wrapped in a sleeping bag, looking out of the window to see a huge ferry waiting to take us away to somewhere new.

Over the years we built up traditions associated with our holidays. The family dance around the kitchen while chanting, “HOLIDAY! HOLIDAY! HOLIDAY!” on the last day of term. The sleepy 4am wake-up, when me and my sister would be scooped from our beds still in our pyjamas, before being deposited on the back seat of the car ready to wake up properly at the ferry port. And that first trip to the supermarket to stock up on our favourite French treats (Orangina out of glass bottles – bliss).

Ferry to France

Our family holidays were about more than a few weeks off work. We would create memories that I still carry with me now, spending time together away from the distractions of everyday life. Those holidays instilled certain values in me as a child – the ability to relish adventure, meet new people, appreciate experiences over material things. These are the same values I want to nurture in my own children, as they grow up in an age of shiny toys, screens and squeezed family time.

As our second daughter is a mere nine weeks old, we have yet to experience our first holiday as a family of four. Although we’ve had a few wonderful holidays together as a family of three, now there are four of us it seems even more important to create some memories for Frog to share with her new sister. I can picture the two of them playing on the beach together, just like me and my own sister did twenty years ago (TWENTY YEARS?! Now I feel old.).


So far, holidays for my little family have been to beautiful Cornwall, barring one holiday to Turkey with my parents when Frog was a baby. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of experiencing a holiday through your child’s eyes and, since becoming a parent, I can see why my mum and dad treasured our own summers in France. My dad often refers to them as “the golden years”, and I can now understand why.

Our last holiday to Cornwall with Frog was a very special one. I was coming up for eight months pregnant, so we were making the most of our time as a three before we became four. The laziest days were the best – lounging on the beach, peeking in rockpools and eating more than our fair share of ice-cream.Beach feetCornish holidayFrog had just turned four at the time and was fresh out of her leg cast having spent seven weeks with a broken leg. When we arrived at the campsite she was barely walking, but by the end of the week she was running around with the best of them. Proof that a holiday has magical healing powers!

The beauty of social media means that I captured that whole week on Instagram, so I have a modern scrapbook of our adventures that Frog regularly likes to look back on.

Instagram snaps

I love that my four year old is already starting to build a bank of holiday memories to take with her through life. As a 31 year old, some of my most vivid childhood memories are from family holidays, and I hope that I’ll be able to offer my own girls the opportunities to create their own shared experiences to treasure.

Every holiday memory I own contains my sister in there somewhere. Riding our bikes around the campsite, jumping over waves, meeting new friends at the campsite park (sorry for ditching you every time I made a new friend my own age, sis!) and eating new foods.

There would always be new holiday clothes, some more tasteful than others…

90s leggings
Riding a bike

We would go on bike rides as a family (something me and my husband also love to do). I can still picture my sister’s face as she sat on the “Captain’s seat” on the back of my dad’s bike, while I pedalled furiously to keep up with them. She would look back with this smug grin on her face – pleased to have finally got one up on her big sister!

But while there were the obvious moments of sisterly rivalry, there were countless ones of loyalty too. Like when we would go to the campsite bakery together in the morning, chanting the French phrase for “One loaf of bread and three croissants please”, clutching the money in our hand with pride.

These are the moments I want my own girls to experience as they grow. The bond of shared memories is a powerful one, and a huge part of my own family holiday legacy from the 1990s.

Tell me, what do family holidays mean to you? Have you got any treasured holiday memories from your own childhood?



This post is my entry to the Mark Warner blogger ambassador challenge for 2015. We would love to be ambassadors for this brilliant travel brand and share our experiences as well as making new memories on our adventures.

I’ve enjoyed reading about some of the family trips from the Mark Warner blogger ambassadors this year (Katie at Mummy Daddy Me shared some beautiful photographs from her trip to Greece – check out the pictures here) and would relish the opportunity to be part of the team for 2015.


  1. Lizzy Forbes says

    What a lovely post! Brought back some wonderful memories. How stylish were we?! I think after all these years I’ve forgiven you for ditching me when you made new friends. There was no mention of Mr and Mrs Thong- the time we learnt tents are NOT sound proof! Or how about the time I wanted to please my big sister by climbing on top of the playground train? Despite your squeamishness you were able to deliver me to mum and dad covered in blood after I fell off and bit through my tongue. I hope the four of you have such fun holidays and Frog doesn’t boss her younger sister about too much! xxx

  2. Ed Whitaker says

    A wonderful blog that captures the essence and the power of the tradition of family holidays and the gathered memories.

    Every parent can relate to this, and before you know it (just like myself) you are off down your own “memory lane” of past holiday memories, especially as a young family.

    • says

      Ah thank you Ed! Scary how quickly time goes – makes me realise how important it is to treasure every experience before the girls grow up and are taking their own children on holiday!

  3. says

    Fantastic blog Molly. It brought back beautiful, sunny thoughts of our family holidays in France (and Wales – we were always luckier than you with the weather). Like you say, it was an adventure; lucky you, you have lots of adventures to look forward to with your little ones. Our camper van is lovely but I’d give it up for a week in France with the girls as little ones again!

    • says

      The excitement of holidays with kids is contagious – I’m realising now why Mum and Dad used to get as excited as us about our holidays when we were little!

  4. says

    My Dad was a teacher so we had the long summer holidays for exploring too – lots of adventures around home but we went to Brittany and Normandy a couple of times, went sailing and had the most amazing trip to Canada when my uncle was stationed over there – definitely happy days :)

  5. says

    Loved this so much. This is absolutely fabulous, captures so much of what makes holidays and family holidays special and memorable.
    Gorgeous post and the proper holiday ‘snaps’ are quality!

    • says

      I was so excited to look back on our family snaps! Remember when you’d have to go to the photo processing shop and get your film developed? Such excitement going back a few days later to see if your photos were any good! x

  6. says

    Love this post Molly- I agree with everything you say, family holiday’s are memorable and I look back on all of ours with emotional and sometimes funny memories. And ORANGINA in a GLASS BOTTLE- best bit ever about our holiday’s to France. Is it weird I can still taste it if I think about it? That’s the beauty of a holiday memory I guess. You and your little family would be wonderful MW ambassadors- good luck. xx

    • says

      I can taste it too – Orangina in glass bottles was such a treat! Your beautiful photos and experience definitely inspired me to want to apply this year Katie. It would be an incredible opportunity. x

  7. MummyandMonkeys says

    Wow Molly, you did exactly the same as me as a Kid. We travelled all over France staying in the campsites. I vividly remember orangina in the glass bottles, walking to the bakery in the morning, riding riund the campsite and ditching my little sister. Such great memories. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>