For our Spring Summer 2018 we headed out into the countryside with a box full of saris, customised lampshades, a giant fake flower vine some brightly coloured smoke bombs with the intention of rustling up and Wild and Gorgeous summer wonderland.
We are lucky enough to have a gorgeous friend Judy who lives in the rambling Oxfordshire countryside and is also infinitely patient and welcoming as well as being a dab hand at stringing up lampshades and draping old curtains. At the bottom of the garden is a derelict summerhouse on its last rickety legs that also serves as the perfect vehicle for creating a set.
Her garden is full of flowers both planted and wild and old gnarled trees – perfect for climbing or posing in. As well as taking advantage of nature just as it is we were also able to add quirky touches here and there. We draped our floral vine through the trees to create our very own tropical forest.
At the end of the day it was coloured smoke bomb time. Like a home-grown Indian Holi Festival the coloured smoke fills the air with billowing clouds of yellow orange or blue. You have to be quick as once the smoke bomb has been released the wind quickly whisks it away to nothing. Our photographer Christina snaps away to shrieks of delight from our younger models while our graphic designer races around them disbursing the brightly coloured smoke.
It is an exhausting day for models photographer kids and mums but at the end of it we have some gorgeous imagery. All our little models have big characters and really add to the fun with their exuberance and friendship.
As well as lots of beautiful stills we also managed to make a mini film that you can view here.
Founded in 2007 Tots Too is a holiday company dedicated to creating fabulous, bespoke holidays for families. We were lucky enough to sit down with Tots Too co-founder Emma Barnett Spitzer to uncover how she balances work and home life plus her top tips for tots travel.
W&G: Other than having children, was there a defining moment that inspired you to launch Tots Too?
E.B – I took my eldest daughter to Mauritius when she was 4 months. My husband and I crammed our clothes into one half of a suitcase and she had a whole plus our other half of a suitcase just for all the equipment I thought I needed to take. The hotels had all the baby stuff I could possibly need but I was surprised they didn’t communicate all the things they could offer to families with babies and young children that so that was definitely the light bulb moment.
W&G: How hard was it to find resorts that catered to the needs of young families? And do those needs change as the children grow up?
E.B – It wasn’t too hard to find the best family friendly resorts but the hardest part is always making sure we match up the right client to the right resort. The needs change significantly when the children get older and out grow the kids clubs. For this reason we have added (and are continuing to add) more adventure itineraries to grow with our families that have been booking with us for years.
W&G: What are the biggest challenges for family travel?
E.B – I would say that ticking all the boxes for all family members is always the greatest challenge. Siblings of various ages want different things so its important to make sure everyone has something to keep them happy. Also families want space so finding options that keep them together but with some separation for a bit of peace and quiet!
W&G: Hot or cold. Snow, beach, culture…what are your favourite family adventures?
E.B – I am definitely a beach person with some culture thrown in for good measure. I was fortunate enough to travel to Sri Lanka last summer with my family and that was the perfect balance of both. We toured for 9 days and then had 7 days on the beach.
W&G What do you regard as essential kit and tips for family travel?
E.B – I’m ashamed to say we couldn’t survive without some sort of device like an IPAD. There are always times when you need to occupy the kids for whatever reason and we usually always turn to a technological distraction. Allowing the kids access to a camera so they can document their own holiday is always a great thing. The kids take very different pictures to ours and its lovely to see it through their eyes.
W&G: Family trips to space? What does the future hold?
E.B – Who knows what the future holds. Things never move on as fast as you think they will. We are not doing things wildly differently to 16 years ago. Families are definitely more adventurous now though and the more off the beaten track the better.