It’s said that a rest is as good as a change, and with a six month old with energy to burn and work being full on recently, a rest was what we needed. So a little over a week ago Sian, Quinn and I packed our bags (mostly of Quinn’s things) and headed off to Malta for a week’s holiday.
Malta lies south of Italy & Sicily and east of Tunisia in the Mediterranean sea and it means a lot to us already as it is where Sian and I were married a year and a half ago. One of the reasons we chose Malta is that it’s where Sian spent three months studying as part of her degree in 2010 and this trip coincided with her sister Megan currently doing the same, so we were excited to see familiar faces and places.
Roughly a three hour flight, ours was at 7.30am so the three of us rose early and traveled by taxi, train and then shuttle to arrive at London Gatwick before 6am. Quinn was quite literally born ready, she was bright eyed and happy to go at 4am so no problems there. However on arrival it was clear everyone had had the same idea as us, as Gatwick was absolutely heaving. Quick breaks with only hand luggage are certainly a thing of the past for the moment. So after eventually checking in our hold luggage and buggy using Tesco style self-service tills it then took us forever to get through security. Finally through we had just enough time to change Quinn’s nappy before our Gate began boarding, which would have been great timing if it wasn’t, as we were just about to find out, a 20 minute walk away. We eventually reached Gate 47 and joined the back of a very long queue. Being a new parent I wasn’t sure of the etiquette but I’ve seen Titanic so I know it’s always ‘women and children first’ so with only the smallest feeling of guilt I took Quinn to the front of the queue and asked whether we’d have to wait at the back with her. The answer to my delight and the mild annoyance of the rest of the queue was of course not.
Finally on the plane, I had my first opportunity to consider the next three hours. I had been dreading the flight for a couple of reasons, one I have a genuine fear of flying and two I had no idea how Quinn was going to be on her first flight. I needn’t have worried. Quinn sat on my lap, strapped into her own seat belt that was looped into mine, and after burning off some more energy by opening the tray table (we’re still not sure how she did that) and banging it, she fell asleep ten minutes before take-off.
She has her moments but more often than not Quinn is a people person and after waking 15 minutes into the flight her normal happy nosey self, she spent much of the next few hours smiling at all the new faces around her, most of whom all smiled back.
We’ve recently started weaning Quinn, so as well as milk she’s now having three ‘meals’ a day. For breakfast this day she had an apple and pear baby yoghurt for convenience on the flight. She’d never had one before but a couple of spoonful’s in and she was loving it. However there was a problem, we had been told at the start of the flight that there was a passenger with an allergy to apples on board and it was only at this moment we connected that to the ingredients in Quinn’s food. We didn’t have a choice but to stop feeding her and I took the offending items to the stewardesses with a grovelling apology. Now we had the problem of what to feed our hangry little girl after having her breakfast taken away. Step up mummy who spent what must have been 20 minutes peeling grapes and breaking them apart into tiny pieces for Quinn to enjoy, which of course she did!
And that was the only bump of our very smooth flight to Malta. As we began descending Quinn fell asleep and woke up just as we were getting of into warmer surroundings, really things couldn’t have gone any better.
Maybe because it’s part of Europe but every time I arrive in Malta I’m surprised about how Mediterranean it looks from the airport, it reminds me a little of Egypt which I suppose isn’t that far away really. Malta is just an hour ahead of the UK but since we’d been up since 4am I was expecting Quinn to be quite tired throughout the rest of our first day on the island. I was wrong.
After checking into our hotel room which had a beautiful view of Spinola Bay and meeting Sian’s sister, we ventured out to pick up a Pastizzi (literally the best snack ever) and some essentials we’d chosen not to pack… oh and a Mcflurry. Quinn had had no more than an hours sleep since waking up but was showing no signs of wilting, so when we got back we took her swimming. Luckily the hotel had a heated indoor pool that we were able to use rather than the rather chilly outdoor one. Dinner on the first night was a sharing feast at Sardinella, two pasta’s and a risotto hit the spot before we headed back to our room for a good night’s sleep.
Our first full day began with breakfast at the hotel. I don’t often get the chance to share breakfast with Sian and Quinn so it was nice to have a week of mornings together, particularly with Quinn loving her food so much at the moment. Unfortunately there was a shortage of high chairs (just three), and once we found one it was broken, although Quinn didn’t seem bothered concentrating more on the other guests around us in between each spoonful of banana porridge.
We took a long walk along the coast from St Julian’s to Silema to get some pancakes that had come highly recommended by Megan, stopping on the way to push Quinn on the swings and slide. Café Cuba was our destination, and we ordered four pancakes, the fourth wasn’t for Quinn but as it was buy 1 get 1 free it would have been rude not to have an extra for sharing. My white chocolate and strawberry pancake was amazing and it was a really enjoyable lunch except for one thing. As ever Quinn was her normal nosey self, checking out everyone around us until she took exception to a lady on the table next to us and burst in to tears every time she looked at her, which was lots because as this went on she wouldn’t stop staring. It was quite funny and luckily I think the woman saw the funny side but eventually we had to move Quinn because she wouldn’t look away so she was getting very upset.
The next day we ventured slightly further afield to the capital city of Malta, Valletta with Megan and her friend Stacey. Sian and I been a couple of times before and one of the unique characteristics of the city are the long streets that slope up and down hill, hard work with a buggy! We went to watch the firing of the canons at noon at the Saluting Battery. It’s a picturesque and historic setting and the bang as the canon fired didn’t seem to concern Quinn too much. Whilst walking around I grabbed a smoothie which Quinn wouldn’t let me enjoy by myself, so I gave her a taste and she loved it. She kept opening her mouth and making noises for more and I’m a push over so she gets it! This happens a lot since she’s started weaning as she has begun to want the food we are eating as well as her own.
Something this holiday has confirmed to me is that Quinn suffers from extreme FOMO (for those of you who like me aren’t down with the kids and aren’t familiar with this acronym, it stands for ‘fear of missing out’). Wherever she is, whatever she’s doing she is always concerned about what is going on around her, which means she finds little time to just relax. Sitting in her buggy will general mean hanging out of her peering round at everything going on or attempting to get out. Similarly she doesn’t like lying down or having to stay still for any period of time and going to sleep is fought with every ounce of strength she has. But most of all she really wants to hold what ever we have in our hands, it doesn’t matter what it is (although phones, the iPad, remote controls and food are her favourite) if we can hold she wants to, and then more often than not… try to eat it.
For the rest of our holiday we were joined by some more familiar faces, but more on that in the next part of our Malta holiday story.