A few years before I had J, I applied to join MI6. I made it all the way to the final recruitment round, which involved two days of assessments in London and meeting an ‘informant’ on the South Bank.
Although I never made it to spy status, I always thought I might have the chance to put my skills to good use one day. So when Holiday Inn Express told me they were going to fly my sister in law over from America to surprise Mr C, I had some serious undercover work to do.
The big surprise was part of their ‘We know what matters’ campaign and they had chosen to reunite us to celebrate families being together for the holidays. Mr C and his sister our very close but since he moved to the UK nearly 10 years ago to be with me, he has only seen her a handful of times. Now, with J and A growing up so quickly, the distance seems even greater. So it was an amazing opportunity to all spend some quality time together.
It was all quite last minute and we didn’t find out we had been chosen until 5 days before, at which point Laura still didn’t have a passport! She planned flights, arranged a last minute passport, convinced her boss to give her a week off work with no notice and sat in Detroit airport for a 10 hour layover, all to arrive in London last weekend.
All I had to do was get Mr C to the hotel. I told him we had been given a night away to review for the blog and when we arrived at Holiday Inn Express Ealing, he didn’t have any idea what was about to happen. I was bubbling over with excitement but trying not to give anything away while Laura was hiding in the kitchen, ready to greet him as our ‘waitress’…
Watch our behind the scenes video to see how he reacted.
We had a wonderful time exploring Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park together, although J was probably more excited by the underground train we travelled on to get there! Holiday Inn Express put us up in two adjoining rooms, which were perfect with the kids, and the next morning we enjoyed breakfast with Laura. The team were very helpful in making sure it was all allergy free, took me in to the kitchen so I could check the allergen menu clearly displayed on the wall and provided soy milk for the cereal.
Laura was able to stay for a whole week so we had plenty of time to catch up, hang out with the kids and generally do ‘normal’ family things together. It’s those everyday moments that everyone really misses out on when you live so far apart.
Holiday Inn Express also surprised two other families, including flying Vicki’s son over from Rotterdam to suprise his young sister and a Dad travelling all the way from Australia to be reunited with his daughter. Here is the heartwarming video they have made which evokes all the emotions we felt and celebrates the special family bonds that can’t be broken.
Mr C is a very calm and collected person but he was clearly over the moon and somewhat dumbfounded by the whole sitution! It was amazing to be able to set up such a big surprise, see the look of shock and amazement on his face and give Laura such an amazing trip.
Thanks to Holiday Inn Express for choosing us as part of the #weknowwhatmatters campaign. I was overwhelmed at the opportunity and know it is an experience we will all never forget.