So, we’ve not long been back from Portugal, so I thought I would write-up about our experience of our first family holiday.
We booked through TUI, we always seem to go there as we have good service and are always able to find us something within out budget. We decided to go all-inclusive to the Be Live Palmeiras Village in Portugal. Now, generally, I aren’t really a fan of all-inclusive holidays, me and Norms have always been the type of people who will “go to the beach or see where the day takes us” kind of holiday-makers, however we knew this time round was going to be different because we obviously have William now. We thought that all-inclusive would be better in terms of selection of food and availability of it for him, as we booked this holiday in September 2017, a year ago, and you (as a first time parent) have no idea what you are going to be doing in a couple of hours time, never mind a full year in advance. But, it looked child-friendly and fun, and seemed to be in a good area, and the flight was only around 2.5 hours or so which was a big selling point for us.
Speaking of the flight, what a MARE. We were delayed for FOUR HOURS. I am not the best flyer anyway, I am a nervous passenger and I am a negative Nancy and always think something bad is going to happen, so when we were told that the flight had been delayed until potentially 1pm (the flight was due at 8.15am) because the plane needed a part, it nearly tipped me over the edge. I think I had a few* glasses of wine to calm my nerves. (*A few..) Of course, I would rather the plane be fixed and working properly and I understand the delay, but honestly, the dread that filled me and Norms when we realised we were stuck in this bloody airport with William and not really much in the way of entertainment for him. It was our first experience of this, and so far it wasn’t going to my little plan I had formed in my head.
We got on the plane in the end though, and arrived there safely (thank goodness!!). The transfer to the hotel was then around an hour, and we eventually arrived there exhausted (we had been up since 3am as we flew from Manchester and obviously we live in Hull so had to do the drive up there to the Airport) and just generally fed up. Holidays are great of course, but the travelling and everything can be a drag (sorry if that sounds SO shitty), but for me, travelling is boring.
We went for tea (evening meal) and then decided to have an early night. We were all asleep by around 9pm I think! And the next morning we slept in until around 9.30am! (ALL of us – including Wills!) The breakfast buffet was my favourite buffet. I am a BIG brekky person. I love all the different combinations you can have, sweet and savoury, little plates of loads of different fancies and all the CHEESE. I ended up having freshly made pancakes most days, and the selection of fresh fruit was just the bomb diggy. Will was ok with breakfast too, he loves cereal and would eat it for every meal if he could. The selection of food at these all-inclusive hotels is INSANE. Like everything you could possibly imagine. So that was good – however both Will and Norms just stuck to what they knew (more alike than I originally thought).
We would spend the days by the pool, the swimming pool facilities were brilliant! There were 2 separate children’s pools, one was just water and the other had 5 (or 6) slides for them to play on, and that kept William entertained for most of the day. He LOVED it. There were 2 decent sized adult pools too, and honestly they were so needed as there was hardly any breeze and you could feel yourself getting hotter and hotter and the dip was CRUCIAL. Especially for the kids. The hotel was so family orientated, there was a kids club but I think one adult had to be with the children all day whilst they did the activities, so me and Norms didn’t really go for that. However, the Kids entertainment didn’t start on the evening until 9pm which was a little late, we usually have William in bed for then, and he was always getting tired by that point, so we didn’t actually go to that either (wow we sound really fun parents LOL).
We spent the days by the pool, having a couple of beers while William napped, and there were also 3 adult water slides there which were bloody amazing. I’m usually quite shy when it comes to those sorts of things but once I’ve got the first none out the way that’s it – im off! William laughed his head off when we came crashing down the slide and wanted us to do it again and again. I just looked like a drowned rat the majority of the holiday.
William was QUITE well-behaved on holiday. I think he was quite confused really as to what on earth was going on and where we were. He did love the pool and the slides, however after about a week or so, he was bored with them. We actually went to Slide and Splash in Portugal and it was so much fun, the kiddies pool and slide was brilliant and William loved the change of scenery, and me and Norms took turns to go on slides while William slept, and WE SAW JOSH FROM LOVE ISLAND. Yes, the real one. (Not as fit in real life I must admit – shame really). If you are in Portugal and you are on a family holiday, or even if you are just there as a couple, I would 100% recommend the water park. We wanted to go to the Aquamarine Zoo as well, however we didn’t get round to doing that unfortunately, but I have heard the reviews are brilliant and it is a really fun day out.
We did love Portugal as a whole, we have both been there separately before, however holidaying with a toddler isn’t a relaxing break. It’s just like being at home – just in a hotter and sunnier place. You still have all the usual tasks to do, changing bums, trying to get them to eat, trying to get them to drink, keeping them entertained and playing with them, comforting them if they fall over, taking them for walks in the buggy if they are tired, etc etc. When I returned to work one of my colleagues asked me what sun cream I had been using because I “wasn’t very tanned”, and my response was “I’ve been on holiday with a toddler” – you don’t really get to relax and sunbathe as much as you would like to.
But seeing William’s little face as he went on the slides and ran around in the pool, playing with other little ones on holiday, kicking his legs and wanting to play with me and his Dad, they are the moments you live for aren’t they? And even though me and Norms did have a few crossed words throughout the holiday due to William STILL being clingy to me even though he was spending more time with Norms, and him not letting me get ready in peace, etc etc, when we saw his little face creased from smiling and laughing, it just made my heart burst.
And that’s why we do it all, isn’t it? And let’s face it, we are looking into holidays for next year – so it can’t have put us off that much…