We got off to a pretty good start, we were not over our weight limit at the airport even though I had packed most of the baby food aisle in Tesco and Baba had most of the Next summer catalogue in our suitcase. The flight was brilliant, Baba slept for take-off and landing and spent most of the flight shouting at Iggle Piggle and his mucky patch on the I pad. I’m a very nervous flyer so would normally be pumped full of Valium and vodka but I think this would have been frowned upon by the other passengers. Especially if I had started doing the conga down the aisle mid-flight (Easyjet; Manchester to Ibiza, 2005).
We had booked the Tivoli Marina Hotel in Vilamoura after a few recommendations from friends and family. The location was beautiful, our room overlooked the marina (perfect for people watching on their million dollar yacht’s) and we were right on the beach in amongst some lovely restaurants and bars. The weather was amazing, a little too warm for Baba at times but we managed to avoid the midday sun by making use of the deserted indoor pool and play room.
We would spend our days walking round the marina, eating ice cream and people watching while Baba slept under his snooze shade. This was definitely my best buy, it was perfect for keeping the sun off him during the day then we used it again in the evening to shield him from the boozy stag do’s that would creep out from the backstreets.
Baba was a delight most days but don’t get me wrong there were days that I wanted to just stick my head in a book, knock back another frozen daiquiri and pretend I was alone. Mr A was awesome; he would let me have an hour of ‘me time’ every day and really took the lead on looking after the little man. It was such lovely quality family time and it only occurred to me while we were away that he we hadn’t spent this much time together since Mr A was on paternity leave.
The resort was very family friendly, I was amazed at how many couples with small babies there were, all of them with the same tired desperate looking faces as us. I lost count of the number of mums and dads we spoke to about how different holidaying with a little one is. The number of tantrums we witnessed in restaurants over high-chairs and not being satisfied with the menu, the little ones screaming for more ice cream or wanting to buy a mechanical barking dog that does back flips from the lucky lucky men on the beach. I had to laugh, this was a million miles away from our pre Baba holidays where we would be drunk on cocktails by 2pm and stay out dancing till dawn, but you know I wouldn’t change it for the world. Seeing Baba’s face when Mr A took him in to the sea for the first time (I tried to protest this as the Ocean scares the shit out of me) just made me realise all the stress and worry about taking him away was totally worth it.
We will however be doing a cheeky weekend just the two of us where mummy will be getting suitably drunk most days and we will eat in seafood restaurants with NO CHILDREN ALLOWED.
Here are my top tip’s for holidaying abroad with a little one…
- Buy nappies and wipes when you get there. I just took enough for the first day. I managed to locate a pharmacy that sold pampers but the supermarket own brand were just as good.
- Take a cot bumper. The hotel supplied a lovely (tiny) little wooden cot for Baba but I lost count of the amount of times he woke up banging his head. I have an air wrap bumper that is light enough for your suitcase; just wish I had bloody remembered to pack mine.
- Buy a snooze shade (Boots £20) our parasol for the buggy broke on the second day and it took us a while to find a shop that sold them. The snooze shade was ideal, it has a factor 50 cover so you don’t have to worry about sun cream and it’s brilliant for keeping little beasties off them while they sleep.
- Pre order milk to pick up at the airport. Boots do a pre order service in most large airports; this saved a few kg in our cases and having to come through security with a suspicious looking box of white powder. I also ordered some ready to feed cartons for when we were out and about.
- Don’t be afraid of your little one trying new food. I came prepared with Ella and her overpriced kitchen but found we could always find something for Baba to eat, we also asked on a few occasions for plain pasta which I then just added a puréed vegetable pouch to.
- Don’t worry about keeping in a routine. We stayed out late with Baba a few nights, it’s not frowned upon in Europe to eat out later. Everyone is doing it and as long as your little one is happy enough I don’t see the problem with the odd late night. (Lovely Yorkshire woman and your husband singing ‘Sex on Fire’ in O’Neill’s Karaoke Bar at 11.30pm with your infant in a pram, I did judge you a little. Sorry).
- Shit will happen, you will want to sometimes go for a swim in the sea and keep swimming until you reach Majorca. You will also have times when your little one is playing up because he doesn’t like the oysters you have ordered for him and you just wish you were with the hen party doing shots off the hot waiters chest (you said goodbye to those days when you said goodbye to your pelvic floor).
- RELAX. You’re on your holidays remember!