Charlotte Philby beach essentials

Charlotte Philby is editor-in-chief of motherland.net - a magazine ‘for women who happen to be mums’, covering topics from family travel and pregnancy recipes to finding the perfect child-work balance. As well as this, she also finds times to write for The Independent with a column on motherhood. Based in London with her husband and two kids, Charlotte gives us the low-down on the reality of flying with kids as well as her all time favourite beach spots.

Greek beach

Where is your favourite beach?

Tasmania in Australia has some of the most picture-perfect beaches I've ever seen - and there's never anyone on them. So many it's hard to list them all but one to mention would be Wineglass Bay, with its glorious golden sands and aqua-blue sea. Also, Cape Cod in the US, and Skiathos in Greece, have some gems.

What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?

I've learnt the hard way not to try to cram in too much with little kids in tow, or everyone ends up grumpy and tired. Going away with the four of us and another family with kids works really well as the children can entertain each other while the adults hang out. We recently went on a group holiday to a gite near Toulouse which had a pool and beautiful countryside for the kids to roll around in, which was pretty perfect. (Good local wine helped, too.)

Where was your first family holiday with your kids?

We took our daughter to NYC when she was three months old, which was amazing but also pretty tough given that there was a blizzard to contend with! Then, when our son was a few months old we went en masse to Cape Verde, which was a great option: not too long a flight, winter sun, beautiful beaches. The youngest wasn't yet crawling which also helped!

How do you keep looking chic on holiday?

Beauty-wise, I try to keep it low-key with a lovely tinted moisturiser and lip balm, and black mascara. A nice fragrant body lotion always help you feel fresh even if you're baking, and a lovely enriching hair product to keep my locks protected from the sun. My staples, outfit-wise, is a good pair of sunglasses, a nice light, colourful scarf to throw over my shoulders if they start to burn or use wrapped on my head, and a loose vest-top and playsuit. Having a manicure before you leave is always a good idea - and forget varnish, which will inevitably chip or fade.

What are your top tips for surviving a long haul flight with your kids?

Distractions! With little kids you have to accept that it's going to be a struggle to keep them from getting bored and riotous. Bring magazines, books, toys, snacks (sugar-free - there is nothing worse than a sugar-crash at several thousand feet), an iPad or portable DVD player. Bring a bottle of milk/water for babies to suck as you take off and land to stop their ears popping, and something for younger kids to suck on for the same purpose. Also,the key is to try and not worry about the tuts and sighs of other passengers. Kids are a pain on flights, there's nothing you can do about it.

What do you always have in your hand luggage? 

Lip balm, cereal bars, water, a newspaper/magazine, wipes, iPad.

What did you read on your last holiday?

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, the amazing woman who wrote the Moomin stories.

What are your beach bag must haves?

I love a simple oversized cotton bag that you can throw everything in and not worry too much about. Always stocked with plenty of suncream, wipes, nappies, water and a sarong.

Charlotte Philby Beach interview