My 1st experience travelling long haul with the kids - Cali
The thought of travelling abroad with my kids freaked me out so much that I only took one to begin with. I took my daughter Cali (who was 2 at the time) as she was quite well behaved and a really good traveller (and by good traveller I mean on long car journeys she would be the 1st one to drop to sleep and not wake until we reached our destination as opposed to RD who would just cry and pooh lol) I booked a holiday to Barbados and after a lot of research I found The Almond Cassaurina on the South Coast (which has since closed down and reopened as a Couples resort) an all inclusive hotel that had a kids club where they actually accepted children from birth, RESULT!!!! as most places will not take kids under 3. I compared a tonne of sites and thought I had done a good job finding a decent price for us to go.
We got a coach to Gatwick airport and just as I guessed Cali got comfortable and went straight to sleep and didn’t wake until we were nearly there.
Checking in was a nightmare as both Cali and RD have their dads surname (Grrrrrr didn’t think that one through) so I was basically screened by some guy he actually walked past and observed me with my daughter (apparently I wasn't supposed to notice him doing this…) he then nodded to the guy behind the desk who then made me jump through a billion more hoops before he allowed me to check in with my child. All this because I didn’t have her birth certificate and apparently couldn't prove I was her mother.
I didn’t check in her buggy hoping she would just sit in it and maybe go to sleep in it again, but in true Cali style she refused to go in and wanted to walk by herself, well more run… OK, she wanted sprint through the airport and swing and climb on everything like it was her own personal playground.
We went straight through the family security clearance part where they wanted to empty my bag just because I had Calis (empty) sippy cup in there and went straight to get breakfast. Stupidly we went to Frankie and Bennys which is the only restaurant you have to get in this crazy wheelchair users kinda lift. Now Cali sat nicely and ate her weetabix then once she had finished she decided she needed to crawl under EVERY single table in there and take all the tissues off the tables, scrunch them up and throw them everywhere. So I’m there trying to catch her (and you know how quick 2 year olds are) she just kept getting away. Eventually I got her and we made a swift exit. This kinda worked in my favour as she then climbed in her buggy and went to sleep which allowed me to browse duty free in peace.
We flew with Virgin so they gave her a K-ID pack (which is a load of bollocks if you ask me, totally not suitable for a small child they should definately have a seperate kids pack for smaller kids) they then told me they would arrange for my buggy to be waiting on the tarmac when we get off the plane…hmmmm… I will speak more on that later… Once we were seated and up in the air Cali happily ate her food I changed her into her comfy clothes and she went straight to sleep I had to wake her to get her ready just before we landed.
OK so we landed Cali walked down the staires carefully while I’m there smugly watching parents struggle to control their toddlers on the tarmac thinking well as soon as I get down there I’ll have my buggy so I won’t have to deal with none of that, OMG how quickly was that smug look wiped off my face. The ground staff were like No your buggy isn’t here it will be on the carousel with the rest of the suitcases..AFTER the Virgin staff in the UK had assured me my buggy would be there waiting for me. So immediately I then became one of those parents struggling to control my toddler. She just ran round and around the airport.
Once at the hotel this child who was sooo well behaved on the coach and the plane turned into a little monster. While I checked in my friend and her boyfriend chased Cali around the hotel as she tried to climb in the fountains, turn over chairs and basically escape. For the whole weeks holiday she wouldn’t listen, ran off everywhere and was rude and constantly threw tantrums (all stuff she wouldn’t normally do, even now shes 4 shes not a tantrum thrower, RD on the other hand…) she even started throwing herself on the floor and screaming ‘Please mummy don’t beat me!!!!’ I-was-mortified,everyone at the hotel already thought I was in my teens (I was late 20s) with a toddler so probably thought I was in my room abusing her, I was like Cali stop saying that, but then she noticed the attention she got from doing it as older guests would stop and kind of stand there for a bit ‘just to make sure.’ So anytime she saw people coming she would drop down on the floor and do it again. Little madam.
The kids club was lovely but strangely not much people used it, I liked how you had to take your shoes off before you entered. The rooms were a good size, nice,cool, colourful and full of toys that Cali enjoyed, the only part she didn’t enjoy was the lack of children to play with so I only left her there a couple times and just opted to take her swimming for longer instead. We also spent a lot of time away from the hotel hanging out with family anyway so Cali got to hang out with the neighbourhood kids anyway. Also in our room she had her own little cot (just because I was petrified of her dropping out of the bed and cracking her head open on the hard floor) and even her sheets were changed everyday and her cot made up, with her teddy on top which I thought was cute. Travelling around the island with her was fine she either fell asleep on the bus or just enjoyed the view or played a game on my phone, she was happy to go and look around town and go in shops and hang out. Coming home now, as soon as we stepped back on the plane the monster disappeared and my little angel was back she was so well behaved once again after her food and a few cartoons she got changed into her comfy clothes, snuggled up and went to sleep.
On route to Barbados via Gatwick
On the stupidly hot coach on the way to the airport
Even on holiday she still managed to get into my make up
She lived off of Macaroni Cheese
One of the rare occasions when we were actually able to eat at the hotels restaurant because Cali was actually awake
If it wasn't Macaroni Cheese it was chips
All dressed and ready to go eat
When we visited Almond Beach Village their sister hotel on the West Coast