Nadine Mellor, Editor of the i-escape Kids is already on no.5 of her bucket list. She has a beautiful Irish husband and two cute kids Esme and Cormac (tick). A fantastic job (tick). Has seen some of the world’s most magical sights, lived in exciting cities, and sticks to her promise of having a travel adventure every month (tick). oh! and she is always charming and professional (tick).
For those of you that might have been living under a cosy rock, and haven’t booked a holiday yet with i-escape, let me introduce you. Award winning i-escape.com are an online travel agent and guide to wonderful places to stay around the world. They cover 60 countries, and offer over 1500 places to stay. All of the accommodation is small, stylish, and has character, (a-hem no chain hotels thank you), and each client is hand-picked and reviewed in-depth. If something doesn’t make the grade, then they don’t add it, and if somewhere goes downhill then it is removed from the site. It’s a huge success, and by word of mouth, I can share that what they do, they do it very well.
Hi Nadine, Tell us a little about you… I was born in Islington and lived abroad as a child for a few years before we returned to Islington where I spent my (desperately unhip) bespectacled teen years (a consequence of growing up in Norway in the mid-70s – funnily enough my urban classmates weren’t into camping beside fjords and birdwatching). I really enjoyed my 6th form years, loving both the studying and the partying (contact lenses are a marvellous invention – especially for an awkward teen), and determined to head out of London for uni, settling upon Exeter University as it was a campus setting. Here I made many strong friendships, which endure to this day.
Where were you educated/ train, and did you have any mentors that helped you along your way? After uni (Modern History and Politics) I went travelling for a year to Australia and SE Asia. I then pursued a career in the media, and scored a job in the Newsroom at Channel Four News, for four memorable years (Berlin Wall, end of apartheid, the General Election), before heading back to Australia for where I worked for the BBC in programme sales and marketing. Returning to the UK I took a Masters in Media Technology and was the first employee of Sky’s movie-making arm – my mentor here being James Baker. When that excitement ended (had a hand in making 17 films), my second career then took off – in travel, working for the hip hideaways specialists i-escape.
Which were your favourite parts of education, and if you could go back (fees all paid by us!) then what else would you study? I loved working for my A-levels and then completely lost enthusiasm at university, too distracted by socialising! So I think I’d like to redo my degree and choose a more interesting subject and really knuckle down second time around – perhaps linguistics or anthropology?
Where would you escape to for a (long) weekend away ? Too many places on my wish list to mention but I’m dead keen to get to Iceland – the one Scandi country that I’ve not visited.
Do you have any amusing/ tragic travel experiences you can share?
There was the time we went self-catering camping to Leningrad in 1974….
What are the 3 most important items in your handbag?
Oyster card, iPhone, keys
Where would you love to spend an afternoon with your favourite people, and why ?On a glorious coastal walk with some birds to sight, plus a picnic with all the trimmings
Which are your 3 favourite shops for buying travel essentials ? REI in San Francisco is a campers’ delight, every gadget and item of clothing you could think of; Boots for all potions and lotions; the app store for apps for the kids.
What products have made the top of your birthday list this year? A good book to read (just finished Le Freak by Nile Rodgers); artworks purchased from our artist friend and neighbour; canvas bicycle shed; vintage outfit from a market stall; some old pots for the garden.
Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon ? If with the kids then the V&A/Natural History/Science museum combos – something new every time, I never miss the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.
If money was no object, what would you like to collect/buy, or where would you take the family on a years sabbatical ? Southern Africa. I’ve only been to Zimbabwe so a tour of SA, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia would be awesome. I’d include some volunteer time too so the family could give something back. And we’d come home via New Zealand as I’ve only been to the North Island for 5 nights and am longing to see it all properly.
What do you use for inspiration (books, magazines, stationary) with your work that you can not live without? Conde Nast Traveller if I had to choose a work-related magazine – bit strong to say I couldn’t live without it.
Which clients/properties and destinations on i-escape kids are exciting you ? Destinations for families that excite include Morocco, Croatia, Northern Portugal, Sicily, the Cyclades, Languedoc and Gascony; further afield Mexico, India and Thailand. (Check them out on i-escape).
Can you leave us one travel secret/tip to share please? Pack clothes which all work with each other colour-wise so every item gets used properly eg on our last holiday to Italy I had blue & green items with some neutrals (cream, white, grey, black) and for my daughter only purple, white and light pink and that saves space to bring back that souvenir item (most recently a lump of driftwood gleaned from the beach in Puglia!)
Thanks so much Nadine. xo