MY LIFE ON THE BEACH: Jenni Baden Howard
Mum of two, Jenni is a freelance beauty, health, fitness and lifestyle writer. She has written for a wide range of British glossies and newspapers including Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Daily Mail and Telegraph. Jenni has also interviewed a wide range of celebrities and industry insiders from Penelope Cruz to Donna Karan. She shares some tips and tricks on how she keeps her little ones entertained on long drives around Europe!
What is your favourite beach?
I've got to pick two (can I cheat?!) as they’re both beautiful and sentimental and I can’t choose just one! So, the Italian Riviera - the endless stretch of golden sand and palm-lined promenades from Genoa to the French border. We have family there and it has a very special place in our hearts. Also Sandbanks, as I have many special memories of childhood family summers spent playing on the gorgeous beach there.
What is your idea of the perfect holiday?
A combination of a buzzy city or town centre (for shopping, pavement café watching etc.!), beach and a swimming pool - preferably with ridiculously crazy slides for the children to hurl themselves down (but not me). In the evening, somewhere to ‘fare una passegiata’ as the Italians say, with warm air, pretty lights and delicious local food to try in a relaxed, fun and informal setting. Family-friendly, we’re not a quiet crew!
Where was your first family holiday with kids?
Italy, to visit family.
How do you keep looking chic on holiday?
My main aim to is to remain cool and comfortable as I can never hope for calm on holiday! It’s nice not to have to think about too much, just to throw something on and head out wherever. I love the simplicity of a simple dress and tops in fun colours like pretty pastels or neons that pop, with cut off shorts and flip-flops (I have a weakness for Havaianas). I like a bright, popping bikini I can wear under tops and sundresses - a fun, pretty look. And I love taking a statement necklace or two, to liven things up by day or night.
What are your tops tips for surviving a long haul flight with your kids?
I've never done long-haul, only short and only with our first! The rest of the time we've driven, but I’d say long drives across Europe call for the same distraction ploys! Taking iPads (with movies downloaded onto them, like Disney favourites), taking regular stops in the car and ensuring everyone has food in their tummies. Oh, and regular coffee pit stops for the grown-ups!
I love the idea of packing a surprise bag of treats for travel for the kids, but I don’t think I've ever managed to be so organised!
What do you always have in your hand luggage?
Along with tickets and passports and all that (although, my less scatty husband usually looks after those), plenty of water, Bach Rescue Remedy pastilles (not a huge flying fan!), my iPad, my phone, lip gloss, wipes, a health bar and snacks!
What did you read on your last holiday?
I didn't finish them, but I took The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions In The Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa Terkeurst and Hands Free Mama: A Guide To Putting Down The Phone, Burning The To Do List and Letting Go Of Perfection To Grasp What Really Matters by Rachel Macy Stafford. Her blog, handsfreemama.com, is great, too. Er, spot the link between the holiday reading and ‘what’s in your hand luggage’.
What are your beach bag must haves?
High SPF sun cream for everyone, sunglasses (which actually never leave my head, so maybe they don’t count), beach towel and something to lie on, cover ups and/or change of clothes for the children, family water and snack supplies, money for ice creams and drinks, phone and a book (not that I ever get around to reading it!). I've never been that Mama who packs the full, healthy family lunch with cherry tomatoes in tupperware. I have friends like that and I am in awe of them!