Algarve, Portugal.

This week was a new experience for me…holidaying with two young children! I decided to join my sister’s holiday on account of the fact that if I didn’t I’d lose 4 precious days with my family and because obviously I can’t say no to some sun.

Monday was an early start; 3am to watch Game of Thrones before travelling to the airport. Due to crappy BT Infinity wifi it took 20 minutes to load but I managed to catch the episode just about. I was disturbed towards the end by James (5) who wanted to know things like “Is he the king?”, “Is he going to die?” etc. Will have to rewatch the episode. We got to Leeds Bradford, had a pretty gross breakfast and boarded the plane to Faro. I sat 5 rows behind the others and slept the whole journey…auntie life. 

My sister had informed me we were going to Albufeira, turns out we were not. We were told this by the taxi driver who drove us to the actual place we were going…Alvor. Now I think that these resorts are a little too “Brits abroad” and full of children, but as we are a British family abroad with children this was an ideal location for Belle’s first holiday and my final few days with my family before Malaysia. 

The place we stayed was perfect for us. Ground floor apartment, pool, close enough to the beach. There was apparently kid’s entertainment but our kids entertain themselves with a pool so we didn’t investigate it. Belle and James loved the pool and I loved the sun. I finished reading Marching Powder and my intrigue with San Pedro prison continues to grow. I enjoyed watching 5 year olds socialising and “making friends”. It was like an episode of ‘The secret life of…’ James’ method of making friends was to either jump into other people’s inflatable boats without being invited, to swim about shouting random things at children until someone gives him attention or to start chatting to kid’s dad’s.  Luckily his confident attitude seemed to work and he had a whole troop of pool friends, the main one being ‘Joe’ who happened to be  Stoke. I thought Joe was kind of a weiner but Imogen interpreted his behaviour as arrogant.  Either way he was awkward but they seemed to enjoy playing together. 

When you’re on holiday with children you find yourself on the beach at the crack of dawn which was perfect for some photos.

The beach was beautiful but got crowded after about 10am. My worst nightmare…people. I really do not like people. However there were tasty doughnuts sold by a man we named ‘Homer’, and Belle loved the sea and that was super cute.

Had to make this photo black and white because Belle looked like a ghost child and it was freaking me out.

Belle, Imogen and I got matching hair braids. Reliving childhood dreams with a beaded braid. We look super cool.

Belle was bemused at first.

In the evenings we went out for meals and watched the sunset.

We saw a cool pink house with an even cooler dog.

We saw this sign:

True story.

One evening James decided to get a henna tattoo. He wanted Sponge Bob. There was no Sponge Bob so he opted for the next obvious choice…a skull. He was proud. 

Another evening we were accosted by a group of people with an owl, a parrot and a bearded dragon. We spent 20 mins hilariously getting James to pose with these animals. Belle loved the owl and the parrot but had serious issues with the lizards. She just kept pointing at their scaly claws and crying. We bought two photos because it was totally worth it.

Belle absolutely loved socialising at the dinner table, and holiday life in general. 

Imogen and I had some great sangria with sorbet in it.

We didn’t really do much, we didn’t learn anything cultural or climb a mountain but these few days were priceless to me. When it came to leaving today I SOBBED. I cried all over Belle’s hair. She smiled and blew kisses at me and stroked my face so I cried even more. I cried in the taxi so much the driver (who looked like Greyworm) got very concerned. If I don’t go home for Christmas I won’t see my sister, Rob or Belle until February. I won’t see James for a year. This is very difficult to deal with when you love your family as much as me. So thank you guys for letting me crash your holiday. Imogen you’re my favourite person in the world. I hope you can cope with Rob’s incessant talking. Rob, I hope you can cope with James’ incessant questions and listening to your own words (“James do not pick chips up of the floor and throw them into the pool!”) James, I hope you can cope with the responsibility of being an older brother (“You’re about to run over my baby sister with your boat! She can’t even swim she’s a baby!”) And Belle, I couldn’t even begin to write down how much I love you.

I’ll always be your second mummy even though I’m far away.
And finally…family goals.

SOB. Oh Penang you’d better be worth it.

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