• Cara Goulding

Rosalind's First Holiday

How early is too early to start travelling? I'm so excited to show Rosalind the world and all it has to offer as she grows so we thought let's start her travelling experience and first memories in our home away from home, at her great grandparents house in Portugal.

We got off to a rough start, if you follow me on social media you will know that we had a hellish journey to get there.

We were worried about travelling with a baby for the first time but it turns out she was the least of our worries. We had to contend with cars breaking down, heavy luggage, long queues, lost property and misdirection when picking up our hire car.

It all started with our car breaking down on the way to the airport and with the RAC telling us it would be a 4HR wait and with only 2HRS until our flight we had to call a taxi. Luckily the taxi arrived very quickly and we made it to the airport only 15minutes after check in opened. Then the luggage drop in conveyor broke down and our luggage was overweight (FYI Easyjet have changed hold luggage from 20kg to 15kg) so we had to sort that out. THEN the security queues were long so by the time we actually made it to the plane we were very stressed out.

Thankfully Rosie's first flight was lovely and she was wonderful. The best compliment came from a man whilst queueing for the toilet, he said he didn't even realise there was a baby on board she'd been so quiet. Of course she didn't look out of the window unless we made her for photos, or seem phased about take off and landing but we'll remember her first time in a plane!

Once off the plane the fun wasn't over, Leigh left his glasses onboard so we had to hang around and wait for those in Lost Property and then there was a mixup with the hire car location so by the time we got to the villa it was midnight and we were all shattered.

In the morning though we woke up and were greeted by sun, a glass of fresh orange juice and Rosie met her great-grandparents with a shy smile. It's so lovely that she is able to meet them and that we had four generations of female under one roof, as my parents were also there.

At midday we bundled into the cars for the most important event of the holiday, lunch out and a big old platter of piri piri chicken and chips. It just doesn't taste like it anywhere else. I was a bit worried about how she would be, having to sit for so long but I needn't have worried. She was absorbed in her surroundings and then fell asleep. This was the theme for the entire holiday, she didn't kick up a massive fuss and was quite content to watch us eat.

We spent much of the first day being lazy, sitting round the pool and drinking. It was shandy for me, I've got a real taste for it since having her. I was also much more relaxed about drinking whilst we were away. Obviously still being careful as I'm breastfeeding but not as strict as when I'm back home.

She was perfectly happy to play on her play mat in the shade, rolling on to her tummy to look around. My parents drove to Portugal so they were able to take a play mat and a travel cot for us which was so helpful.

Day 2 we took a trip down to Lagos, we go to the same restaurant every time we are there. We've been going for years so they know my grandparents and we always get the same table. I only ever eat the seafood rice because it is delicious, and I normally share it with my mum. It's always nice to have tradition even when you have been away from it for four years.

They also keep fresh fish and crabs in big tanks that you can pick to eat and Rosie was absolutely fascinated by them. If you want to go by the way the restaurant is called Don Sebastiao, I'd highly recommend.

We had a little mooch round the shops after lunch picking up some almond liqueur and popping into my favourite artist's shop. When I first started buying paintings from her she used to paint in the doorway down a side street but now she has her own shop. We couldn't justify picking up a new painting this time, but I've got four already and limited space so it might have to wait a few more years!

In keeping with tradition we walked down to the front and picked up an ice-cream, I opted for Rum and Raisin, it's one of my faves. I cant wait for her to try ice-cream for the first time!

Day 3 ticked round and the sun decided it didn't want to show its face so we spent the day warm inside. Because my grandparents live at the top of the mountain it can be quite cool if the sun disappears. We can even sit above or in the clouds which is quite magical although not ideal when you only have limited time to get a tan!

We'd arranged that my parents were going to babysit so we could have our first date night since Rosie was born. The plan was that we would put her to bed and then go out and eat around 8.30 but of course she had other plans so we had to leave her crying and wide awake which I wasn't happy about but my mum chivvied us out of the house telling us it would be fine.

We made a special effort not to talk about her, but instead spoke about all the other life admin bits that we keep putting off, so less romantic and more organised but it was lovely to have a bit of time to ourselves to enjoy a hot meal slowly and not be distracted by a baby or by phones.

When we got back to the villa, several shots of local liqueur down, Rosalind had been sleeping on her Granny so she woke up when we arrived and we managed to settle her back down into her cot for the night quite quickly which was a relief.

On day 4 a couple of family friends came over for lunch so we wetted the babies head and enjoyed some home cooked food. Once again Rosalind was more than happy on her play mat or on our lap. I always find the hardest thing is when I have to leave the conversation to get her down for a nap, especially if it takes more than five minutes. I have adult conversations so rarely throughout my week that I don't want to miss anything. Much like my daughter it would seem...

It was lovely to spend the rest of the day and into the evening relaxing and chatting. When it got dark and after the friends had left Leigh went out into the night to take some pictures of the stars. You see so few in London, and even when we visit both sets of parents in the country it's got nothing on the night sky at the villa. I love staring up at the sky and watching them all twinkle as your eyes adjust to see layer upon layer.

Day 5 and another glorious day spent lounging around the pool, drinking Sangria and not doing anything much at all!

The sun was shining so we hopped in the very empty swimming pool, my Grandad had discovered a leak the week before so the deep end only came up to my middle. Still it was nice to have the option to cool off a little and we put some heated water into a paddling pool for Rosie so she could have a little splash around.

It was so different being on holiday with her, and something I want to touch on. People keep asking me, 'Oh did you have a lovely relaxing holiday?' but the answer is no. I don't mean that I didn't have a wonderful time because I did, but it wasn't relaxing. It was the same routine I have every day - feed, play, nap, feed, play, nap. Which is fine but it's different. In previous years I would have grabbed a book, slathered on the suncream and lay out in the sun all day occasionally dunking in the pool and getting steadily more intoxicated on alcohol.

I also find it hard work when other people are around, I constantly worry if she's crying that she's annoying people. Or when I really need to get her down for a nap, people want to coo over her. Which is lovely but they don't have to deal with the fallout when she's overtired. So I do find it difficult to relax when it's not just me and her.

Day 6 we took a trip down into the village for a walk around, new readers to the blog may not know that I lived in Monchique, a village in Portugal for a year so I always like to go and visit. We walked down into the gardens where Rosie loved looking at all the plants and I loved reminisce about many lazy days spent there with my friends.

We headed back to the villa before midday to journey en masse to another favourite restaurant of ours, and also the last meal out of the holiday. Leigh, my Grandad and I all shared a big pot of Duck L'Orange and I had lemon sorbet with champagne for dessert which was gorgeous.

Driving back through the mountains I kept making Leigh stop so I could take some pictures of the epic views. So much of the greenery around my grandparents had been reduced to ash in the recent fires that started because of the heat of the summer. It's always so scary when fires start as it spreads so quickly - the reason my Grandad found the leak was because the fire brigade had emptied the pool to put out the fire around their home.

Day 7 and the last full day on holiday, it had gone by so quickly. Life seems to be on fast forward now we have a baby.

Leigh spent the whole day looking after Rosie so I got to sit in the sun with a book for a little bit which was lovely. I really miss reading, I can just about manage to finish a magazine these days but I miss getting stuck into a good book.

After lunch we popped back down into the village to meet up with a few of my old friends, we are all grown up with children now so it's funny to go back to old drinking haunts with our babies. It's been 12 years since I left so we are all much older!

We got back to the villa in time for the last supper before manically running around and trying to lose 2kg from our suitcase so we didn't get charged again. We had an early flight back so had to be up at 4.30am.

Coming home was another nightmare with long queues and we were the last on the plane, so no duty free shopping for me but Rosalind was good on the plane again so that all made it more bearable and before we knew it we'd touched down and the holiday was officially over.

We are so lucky that we are able to take Rosie away at such a young age and I love the memories we have started building together as a family, they are so special and important.

It was on this holiday that Rosie learnt to sleep on her front, started to show an interest in dogs, splashed in her first paddling pool and spent quality time with her grandparents who she adores. Whenever I wanted her to smile for a picture I'd just get my parents to stand behind the camera and she'd beam at them. It was lovely to have Leigh with us too and for her to spend time with her Daddy.

I'm so excited for her to come back again when she's a bit older and can explore more of her second home. Happy 1st Family Holiday Pudding!

Cara x