Portugal Day 1: 24/03/2016

5.50am the alarm went off. I hadn’t slept well but then I don’t the night before travelling. I got up, got BattleKid’s bottle ready and I went upstairs only to meet BattleDad at BattleKid’s door. We had gone to bed before 10pm so BattleDad was awake with us. BattleKid was quite bleary eyed, saying “fix eyes, fix eyes”. I think he was still so sleepy that his eyes wouldn’t open for him! We brought him into our bed, the usual scenario every morning to have his bottle while watching mickey mouse Clubhouse. I got myself washed and dressed before getting BattleKid ready.

We all went downstairs for some toast and to spend a few minutes with BattleDad before we headed for the airport. I should add that BattleKid and I were flying solo. As mentioned in my previous Portugal post, this was a last minute holiday to go meet my folks in Portugal who were on holiday as they usually are in March, but this time with my nephew. BattleDad was going off for a few days on his bike so he had suggested we see if my folks would mind us joining them so we weren’t stuck at home over Easter. So that’s what we did!

Just before 7am we got BattleKid into the car, said goodbye to BattleDad and off we headed on our little adventure, just the two of us. I knew it was going to take us at least an hour as we would hit rush hour traffic on the A470, the same traffic I sit in every morning during the week. And despite it being school holidays it was still busy. We got to the airport just after 8am, hopped on the bus over to the terminal and checked in quite quickly. We also got through security easily enough.

Inside the departures lounge it was heaving with people. The cafe in Cardiff Airport was having a refit so only the bar was open and the queue was out the door. I picked up a sandwich in WHSmith and sat down with BattleKid. He didn’t like it so munched on some snacks I’d brought with me. We walked around for a bit when he was getting bored until our flight was called. We boarded our flight and took our seats, this being the first flight BattleKid had his own seat. It made a world of difference not having him on my lap and all the space under his seat for our luggage. This meant everything was close by and to hand should I need it.portugal day1

As we flew south the grey clouds started being replaced with hazy sunshine which I was thankful for, having heard a miserable weather forecast on the radio on our way to the airport. I hoped we would be met by sunshine when we arrived at Faro to meet Lolo.

portugal day1

portugal day1

portugal day1

The flight went well and BattleKid was surprisingly good. He did start to get a bit bored as we started to descend as he had to sit into his seat with his belt strapped but that’s when the stickers came into their own and they kept him occupied until we landed. The hope of sunshine was realised as we landed and after changing BattleKid’s nappy (real world problems), collecting his buggy and our bag, we went out to meet Lolo. BattleKid was thrilled to see him.

Lolo had organised airport transfers which take no more than 30 minutes to Tavira from Faro Airport. As we arrived at our accommodation my mum and nephew were waiting to greet us. My nephew had learned of our surprise visit the night before when one of the staff let it slip about a cot for BattleKid. However he said it was still a nice surprise that we were joining him.

We had a quick bite to eat and I tried to get BattleKid down for a nap but he was having none of it with all the excitement. So with him up we went to the shops for supplies before bringing him to the pool area for an hour to play. The pool was too cold to get into but we dipped our toes in the water “cold mama” was all I got, and we had a play with the new Thomas and Percy I’d bought BattleKid. Before we knew it it was half four so time to think about dinner for us. We had a lovely time around the pool, playing and catching up and it started to feel like we were on holiday, although it did feel weird not having BattleDad with us.portugal day1

portugal day1

portugal day1

portugal day1

After a light dinner we got BattleKid ready for bed and he was asleep quite quickly after a big day. However he didn’t sleep well, waking somewhere around 12 and not going back to sleep until 3-ish in my bed. Cue a disturbed sleep for me!

What to pack for 6 days in Portugal

Easter has been traditionally a time when I’ve gone home to Ireland for the long weekend to visit family. However, this year I’m breaking with tradition and heading to an all-together sunnier climate. My parents have been going to Portugal every year in March but normally around the 11th which is my mum’s birthday. However they decided late last year they’d like to go over Easter in order to bring my nephew with them as he’d be off school on holidays.

With that in mind it threw my usual Easter plans into disarray. If my folks weren’t going to be home then I wouldn’t go myself. I didn’t want to miss them so decided to stay at home this year and just chill out. They then said they’d cancel Portugal but I wouldn’t let them, it wouldn’t be fair on them or my nephew to miss out. That’s when BattleDad recently came up with a brilliant idea. Seeing as he usually does a bike trip while I’m away over Easter, why didn’t I just meet my parents in Portugal instead of staying at home on my own with BattleKid? Genius! I called my parents to ask if that would be ok and proceeded to book flights for myself and BattleKid as my mum had secured a 2 bedroom apartment so there would be room for us. We’re on!

Sunrise

As you read this I’m now there enjoying sunshine (I hope) but the week leading up to it has been a bit hectic for me. Firstly I’ve never been to Portugal, let alone in March, so I’ve had no idea what to pack for myself or BattleKid. Do I pack shorts or should I bring trousers? Will it be hot so we only need t-shirts or do we need cardigans and jumpers as well? I rang my dad earlier in the week but he said he wears light trousers out and about, and shorts by the pool so it sounds like both might be needed.

Also, as I’m flying solo with BattleKid I want to bring just one suitcase and the minimum amount of hand luggage than I might normally do when we’re travelling with BattleDad. That means no Trunki stuffed with toys. They’ll need to go into the main case with a few things in the cabin bag to entertain him during the two hour flight. I’ve loaded up his little tablet with plenty of Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine episodes so hopefully these will do. I’m also bringing snacks to distract him with on board. I did pick him up a monkey backpack so might be able to put a few toys in that.

As he’s now fully weaned onto cow’s milk it means I don’t have to bring formula nor do I need to bring any food in my case for him like I have done in the past. I also only need to bring the minimum amount of nappies as my mum is planning on buying them and swim nappies the day we arrive so that saves a huge amount of space. However, as BattleKid is too big for travel cots now, I’m bringing a toddler blow-up bed so that needs to go into the case.

But as for clothes I’ve been rightly stumped as to what to pack. Not knowing what the weather will be like has been a bit unnerving for me. So I’ve had to pack a mixture. I don’t need to worry about dressy clothes as we won’t be going out late for dinner with BattleKid in tow. We’ll most likely be eating at our apartment or dining early in nearby restaurants. But I do think I’m still probably bringing more than I need as I normally do! I always over pack.

So here’s what I’m bringing with us, in brief:

Mum: 1 jeans, 1 shorts, 1 capri trousers, 8 t-shirts, 2 dressy tops, 1 dress, flip flops, 1 pair of sandal shoes, 1 bikini, 1 swimsuit, 1 pj’s, 1 hoodie, 1 cardigan, 1 hat.

BattleKid: 3 shorts, 2 trousers, 1 hoodie, 8 t-shirts, 2 swim sets, 1 sandal shoes, 2 shorts pj’s, 2 long pj’s, 2 hats.20160320_214617_001

Hand luggage will consist of  a change bag containing 1 change of clothes for BattleKid, tablet, few toys, George, a beaker and snacks, and travel documents. That’s about all I’ll be able to carry on my own! If I’ve forgotten to pack anything I’ll just have to get it when I’m there. And of course, there will be a holiday diaries series when we come back telling you what we got up to out there. Completely unplanned until this week and exciting all the same.

Wish me luck and have a great Easter!

Cath x