On the 18th of May we found out that I was pregnant with our second child, and so in January 2018 as our little Rex turns two we will also be eagerly anticipating the arrival of his little brother or sister.
Now there really is nothing quite like the feeling of being in the early stages of pregnancy, the initial elation when you get that positive test result is quickly followed up (if your one of the unlucky ones like me) with nausea, exhaustion, mood swings and bad skin. This first trimester has been really hideous, I mean I remember not feeling great with Rex, but this time my level of hardcore has all bust disappeared. I’m now almost 18 weeks and until now I have felt like I have the worlds largest hangover (without the joys of the night before). Getting through the day with out a nap at lunchtime at the beginning was all but impossible. Then come 5pm the retching starts (sorry but theres no other way of putting it) unrelenting and not even followed up with actual sickness which in the usual case of a hangover is quite welcome sometimes, by 8.30pm I was saying my goodnights. Now although I don’t have the office job to attend to this time round, I do have the toddler to attend to and I know which is harder work. I also find my skin is far from the glowing vision of that in adverts and more akin to a pubescent teenager – not a good look.
The only way to combat feeling and looking hideous is to put ones foot down and demand a hit of vitamin D – so I spoke with one of my dearest friends who now lives in Portugal with her family (including my divine little godson) and was immediately (and very easily) persuaded to gather the family and hop on a flight over. So I had my 12 week scan on the 6th of July (which thankfully was all ok) followed by my blood tests which was a straight A course in butchery as the nurse chatted away about her love of musical theatre (she’s seen ‘Wicked’ 9 times so far) my veins were massacred and as I saw the blood drain out of Chris’ face I looked down to see it was draining at a rate of knots out of my arm also. So with blood all over the chair and all over me, a huge bruised welt on my arm we left our musical theatre loving nurse and 4 hours later were on a flight to Faro.
There is nothing quite like the dulcet tones of drunk over excited revellers on an easy jet flight – going to Faro you have the loafer wearing, golf bag toting kind who think that their chat is so ‘blaahady hillarrrrrrious’ that the whole plane wants to hear it. Believe me when you have a toddler on your lap kicking and screaming because he can’t pull the mans hair that’s sitting in front of you, it’s really not that hilarious. Another person that wasn’t find anything remotely amusing was our air hostess, whose pursed lips and furiously scraped back bun looked just about ready to pull her perfectly manicured talons off if one more person asked her for a packed of pringles. All in all the tension levels were high, but we made it in one piece, picked up our hire car and zoomed off to The Four Seasons Country Club where my lovely friend suggest we stay.
I wasn’t entirely aware of what I had actually booked in my first trimester haze but I was not disappointed, infact I may have shot myself in the foot as there is no going back to a normal hotel room booking. We were taken not to a double room, but to an apartment and a rather large one at that. No more putting Rex to bed in his cot squashed next to our bed and then having to sit in a dark room and watch Tv on low volume each night, oh no we had arrived into a new world of holiday bookings – god speed bank accounts, for holidays will never be the same again.
Travelling with a toddler is an entirely different ball game to travelling with a baby. Rex is all places at all times, he is always on a mission, exploring, questioning and often walking right into the line of danger – the child has no fear which I sometimes think is fantastic and sometimes it frightens the life out of me. He has bundles of energy so having space for him to roam was dreamy, the pool, the childrens playground and the large apartment meant that we were never lost for things to do and man was he tired at the end of the day.
It also meant that when it was time for his post lunch nap (literally children live the dream) we didn’t all have to sit for two hours of the day in the hotel room while he slept, instead we could sit out on our terrace and read or watch Wimbledon – wins all round. The other great thing was having a kitchen, though we are lovers of eating out, its not quite as fun when you have to eat at 6pm with a toddler or risk tidal wave sized meltdowns which always results in enormous anxiety as the glares come in from round the restaurant and you all end up storming home not speaking to one another. so on a few of the evenings we could eat at home and the hotel even has BBQ’s you can borrow (which being married to an Australian was mandatory to do). I know I’m banging on about it, but it genuinely made life so much less stressful.
There are several great restaurants near by, for adults and children alike including The Shack where we enjoyed a fun afternoon playing on the beach whilst we waited for our food. Rex is probably a little too young at this point to enjoy the many activities they have on offer there along with all the water sports, but for slightly older children its a top spot.
The very best restaurant that everyone should try when near Vale Do Lobo belongs to my gorgeous friends that I mentioned earlier. They run a fantastic beach bar on the beach in Vale do Lobo called BJ’s Oceanside (yes I still chuckle when saying the name) and it is the dream, It is right on the beach so just about every other day we would drive the 15 minutes from where we were staying and meet on the beach at 10am before it got crazy hot and the children could ‘play’ (really that means they attempted and failed to build sand castles, wandered off towards anything dangerous e.g. the sea and then decided they were hungry).
Bj’s have a tonne of childrens toys that can be borrowed which is perfect if like us you are ill prepared and arrive with nothing but bottled water (I even forgot beach towels on 2 of the 3 occasions).
once we were done beaching we could saunter over to BJ’s and have lunch, and the lunches are mega, fresh fish, salads, amazing secret recipe rice. Brute supped on glasses of cool rosé while I downed fat cokes, my body calling out for the sugar filled goodness. So if you’re in the Algarve somewhere in the vicinity of Vale do Lobo or actually within a 20 mile radius then get on down to BJ’s, you won’t be disappointed!
On any family holiday I feel it’s important to have a little bit of romance. When you’re in the first trimester of pregnancy though, romance means a pizza on the sofa whilst using brute as a table to lay my pizza box on followed bed (by bed I mean strictly just sleeping) by 9pm. But on holiday there’s that niggling feeling that you should at least attempt to make a little extra effort, pregnant or not. We had been recommended by a few different friends to try a restaurant called Marias Beach so I called to book and the only table they had was at 8.30pm which was also my current bedtime, I sighed but did the right thing and booked the table. The Four Seasons were as wonderful as usual and organised us a babysitter, a lady who also ran the crèche at the hotel so we felt safe in the knowledge that Rex would be in good hands. Brute and I dolled ourselves up as best as we could I got a few self indulgent photos – I mean you have to don’t you – and headed off to the restaurant.
The restaurant itself is very pretty, beautifully decorated with white washed floors and wicker chairs with views over the beach and the sea.
However we were seated practically in the kitchen. Now Brute was not happy about this, beckoning over the waiter to ask why we were sat in the shit seats when there were perfectly good seats on the beachside…’you booked too late, sir’ was the response, I’m sure he wanted to add ‘so suck it up and deal with it’ on the end but you think twice when you have a 6 foot 4 Brute intensely staring at you.
He did however promise we would be moved as and when a table came available – which happened to be only about five minutes later. Off we sauntered to our new table, glowing in our smugness. It was from here that the service all but stopped, we had our orders taken and then waited and waited…and waited.
There was close to an hours wait in-between courses and that is extremely dangerous if you’re dealing with a pregnant woman in her first trimester and a man, who if left hungry, will not be held responsible for his actions. Not only was the food taking forever but our canny move to the beachside table meant that we were slowly being eaten alive by any number of bugs. It appeared though that it wasn’t only us waiting, the ripple of complaints from hungry people could be head filtering round the restaurant as nervous teenage waiters raced to and from the kitchen promising people their orders would be out next. The only consolation was that the steak that Brute was eventually presented with was about the size of my head (which is large) so his furore was put at bay.
We forfeited pudding, instead getting the bill which took a further 40 minutes to arrive and were eventually told that they had had a problem with the generator so it was taking a lot longer for dishes to come out…maybe it’s just me but ‘TELL PEOPLE THAT AT THE BEGINNING’!!!!!! I would much rather know at the beginning that there might be a wait than dealing with the unknown, plus it would have saved those poor teenage souls a myriad of death stares. On the upside, the food when it eventually arrived was good. With that date night was over and we crawled back home, sober, tired and slightly annoyed. I’m absolutely certain that if we had gone on another night and everything had been working we would have had a lovely time, so I will keep that in mind and I’m sure give Maria’s another shot when we are back.
With that our holiday drew to an end, and I have to say It had made the world of difference (even with the slightly disastrous date night). The vitamin D, being away from the city, seeing friends and spending time together as a family – it’s amazing what that can do for your peace of mind. We had time to get excited about expanding our family and to forget about any stresses for a little while. It couldn’t have come at a more needed time. This sickly, sulking first trimester lady was brought back to life.
Rex had honed his beach body and was now keen to get back to his girlfriend back in the UK – having racked up a serious phone bill on international calls – who knew young love started SO young these days…