Last year we ventured off on our first holiday abroad with fully fledged toddlers, we traveled with Mark Warner and absolutely loved it. (You can read about our trip here: Our Week at Lakitira, Kos and watch it here: A Video of Our Trip to Kos).
Now, Mark Warner are looking for family ambassadors to share the stories of holidays with them in 2016. They are looking for bloggers that fit into one of six different categories, of course, we’d love to be “the serious foodie” ones.
Food is the framework of my life. Tastes are the markers that make up so many of my memories, holidays included.
I can still taste the fish and chips of a wet and windy Suffolk beach when I was seven, Dad explaining that you should never order your chips with salt on, best to help yourself afterwards and get the perfect amount. The wafts of vinegar tickling my nose as we warmed our hands on the open bags, laughing about the weather.
(I was thinking about the chips.)
I remember the golden, flaky, meltingly buttery pastry of Mum’s homemade sausage rolls on weekend trips to visit my parents. Arriving to those bakes, lovingly made just for me, an antidote to my unsettled mid 20s life of calorie counting, a life of living alone, 200 miles away. A hug in baked form.
I can still taste the chestnut brown pretzel I ate standing on a New York street in the spring sunshine 10 years ago. Chewing in companionable silence with my BFF (then and now) during a break from our first adventure abroad together. The chunks of salt melting on my tongue amidst that dense, warm dough.
I remember the fragrant roast chicken, sticky with garlic and lemon that we ate with our fingers on our second date, when I realised, that perhaps, maybe, this might be the one (him, not the chicken). I remember that dish so well because he was the first man that had ever left me too full of butterflies to eat too much of it.
I can taste the rich, dark chocolate tart that left a trail of crumbs on my lap, as we sat having a picnic in a South African vineyard just before he proposed to me. I remember that I had wanted that tart to never end. (Then with hindsight, being quite glad it had for the proposal that came afterwards.)
I remember the digestive biscuits with a hot cup of tea that a kind midwife bought me after I’d somehow managed to produce two real, life, miniature people. The gentle snap of the biscuit as I thought to myself “this is it, the before and after moment, life will never ever be the same again, I’m a Mum”.
I remember the shining scales of the catch of the day, piled high in the bustling Sydney fish market rather than the Opera House. I remember the fields of neatly stacked pumpkins, rows of orange jewels, in New England rather than the leafy landscape. And I remember not only the sand between my toes in Kos last summer, but the juice of freshly cut watermelon, dripping down our chins, as we ate breakfast and planned our day ahead.
Top row – the Sydney fish (and us!) in 2010
Middle row – Mr TT posing with pumpkins in New England – Greek salad and watermelon in Kos last year
Bottom row – Mumma recovery weekend away breakfast – Aldeburgh chips – our pizza oven
I suppose, sitting here, remembering all of that now, it was fairly inevitable that one day I would leave my sensible career and spend all day dreaming about food for a living. A few years ago, I took that terrifying plunge and now this blog and the freelance food work I do because of the blog are my job (along with being Mum of course). It’s not always easy, being freelance is hard, I work long hours and clearing up icing sugar at midnight is all too frequent, but I love it and am so grateful.
And oh, the adventures I’ve had because of food! I’ve managed to make a cheesecake that broke the internet, I’ve hosted life changing tea parties (and been interviewed about it in The Times, you know, as you do…) and closer to home we’ve built a much loved pizza oven in our garden. I’ve also become one of only four official ambassadors for Pinterest in the UK because of my food focussed Pinterest content and each week we make videos for Good to Know to help encourage kids to get cooking. All of this, is because of the original love of my life, food.
Top row – that picnic in South Africa in 2006 – the cake I always make for friend’s who’ve just had a baby – H in Wales last year.
Middle row – THAT cheesecake – memories of paella over the fire in Spain – picking berries for the first time with my littles in 2013
Bottom row – pancake love in Amsterdam – the favourite food photo I’ve taken for work this year so far (it was on the front cover of a national magazine – eek!) – G cooking his own pizza in Amsterdam
As my children grow up, perhaps they won’t be food lovers. Maybe they’ll think I’m crazy to remember life in tastes (as Mr TT does). However they end up remembering our travel (and I’m sure they will), I plan on showing them plenty of adventures through food, you know, just in case.
So, here’s a silly little video we’ve made about what makes the perfect holiday for us!
We would love to be able to share our Mark Warner holidays, and of course, the food memories, here on the blog and over on our YouTube channel, so this is my entry to be a #MarkWarnerMum. Thanks for reading!