Vale Do Lobo
Vale Do Lobo
Mabel & me
Mabel & me
Just Us
Just Us
Cover Up
Cover Up

Our First Family Holiday {Part 1}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

This title is a bit of a fib – what I mean is, our first family holiday involving aeroplanes (!) and whatnot. Before I begin I wanted to say THANKS A MILLION for all of your amazing recommendations in my essentials feature, it really made us far more prepared and as a result I worried less and relaxed more.

There is so much to write about that I’m going to make this feature two parts, this will be a more general holiday/Mama focussed post and I’ll follow on with my own recommendations (largely based on yours!) advice and an altogether more baby related follow up.

We stayed for a week in a private villa in Vale Do Lobo in Portugal. James had stayed there before some years ago but remembered it as being pretty, having plenty to do and being particularly family friendly. It was quite frankly the most manicured, cleanest and fanciest place I have ever been. Ever. We LOVED it.

Our villa was booked direct with the Vale Do Lobo accommodation agents, we rented the two bedroom deluxe Margarita style apartment with its own infinity pool, you can have a butchers at the gallery on the website for full details. The villa was equipped with everything, seriously – from three types of whisk (!) to five varieties of wine glass. It was super easy to cater for Mabel when we were not eating out and it was so just so peaceful having the place all to ourselves.

I’d say this was probably the first break since starting Rock My Ltd that I genuinely switched off from work. Apart from the odd instagram update I was practically social media free too, it was really rather liberating.

Admittedly there wasn’t exactly a huge amount of time to lounge by the pool/have a snooze in the shade with Madame Mabel – she required almost constant attention, but her afternoon nap meant we had a couple of hours per day to read a book and even though she went to bed a little later than usual, this meant we could sleep in too (I say sleep in, I’m talking 8.30am in comparison to 6.30am!)

We had a super king size bed with what must be the most comfortable mattress on the planet. Have you ever slept in a super king size bed? Unreal. Even with Mabel inbetween us most nights (she decided she didn’t appreciate a strange cot in an unfamiliar environment) we slept extraordinarily well.

Apart from the associated euphoria of not suffering from sleep deprivation for a full 7 days mostly we had the chance to talk. A lot. About the future, about buying a new home (our dream family house came on the market the Tuesday we were away, we went to view it on Sunday and are going back this weekend to see it agin – more on this soon!)…..and it was really really nice. Life moves so fast, I felt like this holiday gifted us with the opportunity to slow it down, even with a few 13 month old diva strops included.

I enjoyed putting my make-up on every night and “getting ready” – choosing a cute outfit and actually accessorising a wee bit. James was a star in terms of bathing and humouring Mabel for an hour so that I could do so – in fact we discussed that too, how much of parenting is teamwork. How well we actually work as a team. When the tough gets going it’s easy to forget how hard you work and what a good job you’re doing….you know?

I got over my bikini fear. I felt I owed it to what a challenging journey it’s been and how much my husband is so supportive and complimentary. But I have to say I did feel more comfortable in one of my various kaftan type cover ups. My favourite was this long Palm print shirt that also works as a flattering thigh-covering dress from H&M. I was also never without a cowboy style hat to keep those pesky ageing UVA and UVB rays from my hair and face, whilst away I invested in this rather fetching wide brim raffia number from Zara (it was cloudy that particular day – I figured that was a good excuse as any to go shopping…insert winky emoji here.)

I also think I found my evening wear fashion mojo (well, at least summer season anyway). It turns out I am a lover of the maxi (dress or skirt) and pale blue denim, be it a jacket or flared jeans worn with a light weight vest and a nude strappy sandal. Talking of the latter, I found the PERFECT pair for Β£24.99. So awesome I’ve actually bought a back up. True story.

I loved spending time with my daughter underneath blue skies, paddling in the sea and watching the sun go down. I love being a Mum. I love our small yet perfectly formed family unit we’ve created. No one’s life is perfect but it sure feels like it to me right now, we are already planning our next escape to sunnier climes πŸ™‚

Have you found your summer fashion mojo? Booked your summer holiday? Found the perfect nude sandal?!

I would very much like to invest in some kind of glowy non sparky and not too bronze erm…bronzer (!) any recommendations most welcome.

P.S These beach towels from John Lewis are amazing! I bought the Pineapple print and the Flamingo design, both were quite big yet thin so easy to roll up in your suitcase – they also dried really quick too.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
This post may include affiliate links.
[show_ltk_widget_version_two rows=1 cols=3 show_frame=false user_id=116091 padding=3 app_id=481186275 profileid=4c5b55b6-ff30-11e5-96ef-22000b0f8f3a]

58 thoughts on “Our First Family Holiday {Part 1}

  1. Hurrah! I had my fingers crossed that you would have an awesome (stress free) time!

    We went to Lanzarote with baby Rae the week before you and although at 4 months she’s significantly less mobile than Madame Mabel, travelling with a little really wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe! Preparation is key though.

    On the bronzer front, no prizes for guessing what my recommendation is – Tom Ford in Terra. You NEED it. It’s the only one in his range that doesn’t contain any shimmer and it has a very slight grey undertone so doesn’t look muddy when applied. It’s also in a very fancy compact! πŸ˜€

    1. So glad you had such a stress free time too Lynsey! And absolutely – I’ll be writing about the prep and key essentials next week.

      Oh no…..I bet I do need the Tom Ford don’t I?! x

    2. Lynsey you should know better than to encourage us RMS girls to buy more Tom Ford products. Honestly all we need is the nod and we’re there!

      1. #sorrynotsorry

        After only ever buying lipsticks previously, I had a bit of a splurge and recently bought TF skincare, bases, bronzer, blush, eyeliner and mascara…

        I love it all. I’m literally one step away from becoming a Saturday girl at my local TF counter!

        1. I have about seven lipsticks (I think it’s the love of the names more than anything!) a couple of eyeshadow quads (always glittery) and the citrine highlighter which is IMMENSE. I also have the bright pink blusher and brush (the brushes are to die for!), the eyebrow pencil in taupe (it’s a make-up staple) and a brown eyeliner (in mink) but haven’t tried their bases or bronzers or mascaras yet….

          1. Sounds like we have the entire collection between us.

            We should probably start some kind of support group…

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely time! I completely agree that although holidays with a toddler aren’t relaxing in the traditional sense they are such a great chance to talk and reconnect with each other! I still love holidays as much as before even though they are very different!

    Love that Palm print shirt – will definitely invest and re: bronzer I reccommend the guerlian ones which are gorgeous (although the last one seems to have been stolen by a certain toddler and hidden somewhere!!

    Rachie xo

    1. Oh definitely get the shirt Rachie! It’s actually really lovely silky fabric – seems much more luxe than the price suggests!

      Reconnect – that’s a great word.

      Guerlain do the prettiest compacts! x

  3. Such a lovely article to read first thing – so glad you had a fab holiday!

    Isn’t it great to get away from all the little things that take our time up at home and spend some time focusing on what really matters. Holidays are such a good time to have a proper chat about what the future holds – sounds like you and James are in a great place right now and Mabel is so lucky to have you both!

    1. Thanks Clare! it was really weird not to have to do endless washing! ha ha.

      It was quite funny, we had so much to talk about we ended up staying up quite late some nights even though we had the perfect opportunity for lots of sleep. x

  4. We have a super king size bed – the best investment… We co-sleep in it with our little boy and have ACRES of room plus two kitties on the end. Soo soo comfortable and cosy and nothing beats morning family snuggles.xx

    1. It is now a pre-requisite that whatever house we buy we can fit a super king in the master bedroom…even if that’s ALL we can fit in it πŸ™‚ x

  5. Glad to hear Team O’Shea had a fab holiday.
    Even though we don’t have littles I completely agree with holidays being a time to talk. All our best plans have been hatched on holidays. Maybe it’s the mojitos! x

    1. Haha! Definitely the mojitos. I also find that my husband is much more agreeable to things in general when the sun is shining!

      1. Pah ha ha!!! I got James on the Superbok beer so that I could talk in depth about the kind of kitchen I want……x

  6. Holiday sounds fab glad you all had a lovely time, a super king bed sounds immense!

    On the bronzer front, I really like Nars in Laguna which has no shimmer and isn’t muddy or orangey at all (I’m pale and freckly) .

    I also love Aerin’s bronzer in the palest shade, this does have some shimmer but isn’t sparkly or anything just quite glowy!

    Ruth on A Model Recommends mentioned this as a good pale bronzer$ja=tsid:32619|prd:119438&cm_mmc=AFFIL-_-AWIN-_-119438-_-0RpXOIXA500&awc=3539_1432108692_780e7e03d9980f14a555813b6f8a1d32&utm_source=Affiliates&utm_medium=119438&utm_term=na&utm_content=na&utm_campaign=na

    1. Thanks for the recommendations Vicky! I do love a bit of Aerin but it’s hard to find – I have a super lipstick from the range x

  7. Yay for sunny holibobs! You are now making me wish I’d booked some sun for our holiday in a few weeks. I did just have to check your lovely apartments but they are all full. Boo. Fingers crossed the sun shines in this country as I’m not a fan of a rainy week in Devon. On the plus side I haven’t had to invest in a new summer wardrobe or bikini nightmare as don’t think I will have much requirement for those! x

    1. We are thinking of the UK for a break at the beginning of July, everywhere seems booked up though!

  8. Oh I love the palm print shirt dress, I have a similar one from Topshop that I wear as a cover up on holiday but it’s too short to wear as a dress – might have to invest in the H&M one.

    As far as bronzers go you have to try the Chanel one, its by far the best one I’ve used (& I’ve used a lot). It’s not sparkly at all or too bronze(y), in fact they only have it in one shade & it works on everyone I use it on. I’m really pale & it’s perfect, its Β£32 but lasts me a year & I use it every day (sometimes twice a day).

    You look amazing in a bikini btw, don’t know why you would feel the need for a cover up, I have flat tummy envy πŸ™‚

    1. I love that bronzer too, used it for years. It’s almost like a bronzer and base in one isn’t it? My only gripe is that it’s a bit awkward to carry around, especially on a night out!

      1. Hi Lynsey

        Yes it’s not so good for a night out πŸ˜‰ I’m going to have to check out the Tom Ford one you mentioned (I can’t ignore a fancy compact … or anything by Tom Ford for that matter!)

          1. I’m “investing” all the money I used to spend on gin pre-baby (which lets face it was A. LOT.) into make-up and tiny Chloe purchases.

    2. I love a palm print – it may even be overtaking my pineapple obsession!

      I find my tummy flatness really depends on my diet, it’s much harder to beat the bloat since having Mabel. Thanks so much for your kind words Grainne, it’s very easy to be over critical x

  9. Hi lovely Charlotte,

    Reading your post I can totally feel every bit of emotion you’re feeling. And it’s such a nice feeling, especially when you understand exactly what another Mama is experiencing.

    I’m so happy for all three of you that you had time out together and could just switch off. Individually and as a family unit. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of everything that you don’t always have a chance to really reflect on what you’re achieving. I know you love your job, but we all need a break, another focus, if I ust to notice the simple things like sky, sea how much we love our families.

    We went to Cornwall at Easter to Padstow. We hired a caravan, had our 6 month old and my 14 year old (he still loves Padstow even if he doesn’t like hanging out with us much these days). The weather was fortunate and like you spent time on the beach just savouring those moments with my son and my daughter. Though we drove there, the journey was pretty stressful with traffic, a baby and all we had to take, which makes me look towards travel on an aeroplane in the summer.

    I wanted to ask if you took the Babyzen YoYo with you, if so how did it do? We have a wedding in Ireland at the end of July and fly out on a Wednesday, back on the Saturday and fly to Switzerland for 10 days on the Monday. I’m purchasing this week and it’s between the Uppabay G-Luxe and Babyzen. Babyzen is more expensive but is it worth it for the compact travel? Any advice greatly appreciated. I’m nervous about all the travel with baby and want the most simple solution (if there is such a thing).

    I know how we perceive our bodies is all relevant to our own feelings, but since having my first I’ve always struggled with my weight. I actually lost weight with bubba pregnancy last year but have put on a stone since she was born with grabbing poor food choices where I can. I’ve managed to lose some weight, however have been off track again the past few weeks and with a christening, three weddings and a holiday am desperate to lost just a bit of weight to feel a bit more confident. There will never be a bikini for me in this lifetime, but I just wanted to say you look great. Really. And I hope I can drop a few pounds just to get some confidence back for the upcoming events.

    Good luck with the house.

    Emily xx

    1. Hi Emily! We did indeed take the Yoyo, the only reason I haven’t mentioned it is because the “baby” aspect of the holiday is a post in itself! I took it as hand luggage as it folds so neatly – it was fab on holiday. Interestingly we spotted quite a few others in the Algave too so I guess they are a popular choice. I didn’t get chance to look at the Uppabay in the end so I can’t comment if it’s necessarily better but it certainly works for us.

      I love a caravan! I’ve always fancied a trip in one of those retro Airstream numbers, glad to hear you had such a lovely time. x

  10. Great pics! Glad you had a relaxing time πŸ™‚
    We are off on our first holiday as a ‘three’ in a fortnight… Imogen is 10 months and has just started crawling- despite me hoping she’d hold off until we’re back!
    I’m just wondering what Mabel slept in? Did you find you needed a sleep suit or a long sleeved vest? also did she sleep in a 1tog sleeping bag? We’ll prob end up co sleeping too as she’s not a fan of travel cots either!

    Love the fashion tips too- might have to get the palm shirt. And the shoes. And a new bronzer.

    1. Hi Rebecca! it was unusually hot in Portugal, Mabel slept in a short sleeved vest and a 1 tog sleeping bag. On one of the cooler nights she was in a long sleeved vest and the 1 tog x

    2. Hi Emily

      I just got back from Menorca with my 7.5mo (fake) niece, it was around 24/25 degrees in the day and she slept in a short sleeved vest and pyjamas without the sleeping bag (we tried it but she was too hot!), that was in a travel cot on a smallish room with me and her mum in the same room.

  11. Sounds like you all had such a wonderful time, spending time together away from day to day chores is always so good! This post is very well timed, we are heading to Vale Do Lobo in 2 weeks and this has made me even more excited! Our daughter just turned 1 (yesterday!) is there anywhere you took Mabel or anywhere for lunch/dinner you’d particularly recommend?! Any advice would be very much appreciated!
    I’m not quite brave enough to feel bikini ready yet but I’ve got some lovely swimsuits and what I’m hoping will be a flattering high waisted bikini! You look great in your bikini! I love the look of the palm print dress, might have to invest in that.
    Bronzer wise, I’ve tried a few and my favourite is the bobbi brown one, not shimmery and not too bronze either! x

    1. Hi Angela! Oh very jealous!

      I would recommend the Shack in Kinta Do Lago (next door to Vale) it’s on the water and they do a great pulled pork burger! Also Koko in Kinta (super breakfasts!). The main place to eat in Vale Do Lobo is the Praca overlooking the beach where they have live music every night (a bit hit and miss talent wise but good fun never the less!)

      The beach at Vale DO Lobo is lovely – 15 Eu to hire two beds and and a parasol per day. It’s super clean and wasn’t too busy when we went. x

      1. Thanks so much, I’ll keep these in mind, love the sound of the pulled pork burger and always like a yummy breakfast! x

  12. Ahhhh sounds like you had the most amazing time and I’m so pleased you got the chance to properly chill out and relax. Mabel looks adorable as always and remarkably like Melissa in one of the photos; she’s clearly a girl after her mama’s heart with her love for all things cowgirl.
    P.S. I am determined to have a super king bed at the new house if only because my current bed is so uncomfortable (it’s a good excuse anyway!)

  13. Ah lovely pics so glad it was a fab holiday! I love that holidays always let you reconnect without distractions and really talk about things I find the only other time we get chance to do that at home is going on long walks together (weather permitting!). We have just recently purchased our dream house needs a bit of work so no bronzer buying for me which is killing me! I have never gone this long without buying make up or clothes and its harsh! Worth it though soon, hoping to be in by end of June early july at latest! Then we go to Paris in July which was planned before the house came along! Good luck with the house keep us posted! X

    1. Congratulations on the dream house Alex! Perhaps you could share your renovation plans on RMS?!

      I think Paris means you HAVE to buy at least a little item of make-up….x

      1. Totes up for sharing the renovation! It’s mainly decorative initially and then a basement conversion in the near future! I must totes fit in a bit of a make up buy pre paris even if it means a dulux tin of paint in one of the rooms rather than fancy pants farrow and ball muahah aha! X

  14. Woop! This sounds so relaxing and wonderful – I’ve heard great things about Vale do Lobo so it’s on my “TAKE ME THERE NOW” list. Love that Palm print shirt from H&M, there is one round the corner from my office so I may have force myself to have a mooch around, such a tough life. V glad you had a lovely hol, Charlotte! xx

    1. Thanks kate! since writing this post I’ve been back on H&M and ordered some quite cute and bargain pieces for the next holiday! Bet you’ll find lots of nice things x

  15. It sounds like you’ve had a fantastic time! They always have the largest, comfiest beds on holiday don’t they?!

    Talking make-up (one of my fave topics!), the best non-sparkly bronzers I’ve ever used are Nars Laguna and Guerlain Terracotta light sheer bronzing powder. They’re buildable so you can choose your level of bronzeness depending on your mood.

    P.S I’m loving your flamingo towel.

  16. I’ve literally JUST got back from holiday and I’m jealous of yours, should probably book another yes?

  17. Sounds like you had a lovely holiday. Mabel is such a cutie and you look great! We are not going away this year (or next year probably) as saving for a house but even when we have a week off it is amazing how much better we get on with out the mundane day to day stuff and being tired from busy days! Next week off together is our wedding anniversary! πŸ™‚ x

    1. PS we have a super king size bed, it’s amazing bug also a nightmare for buying new sheets, nowhere nice does them in that size! X

      1. Emma that’s so funny! I’ve mentioned to James the potential sheet issue?! N one wants rubbish sheets and a lovely bed! Have a wonderful time to celebrate your anniversary! x

        1. We had a super king too – except I didn’t know this, since my husband bought the bed before I moved in, and didn’t really pay any attention to such details! I finally found out why our king size fitted sheets would sometimes pop off in the middle of the night, whenI measure to buy a new mattress! We have a king size now and I have to say we don’t notice the difference – although we’ve not got an extra little one taking up bed space.

          1. Super king to king not too much of a difference. But we stayed in a hotel with a double bed the other day, it felt tiny! X

  18. Bit late to this today, but your holiday looks fabulous (and you all look super relaxed and chilled too – jealous!). Re bronzer I use MAC matt bronzer, works for me and not too ridiculously expensive. And following on from your sheets conversation, try Cologne & Cotton – we have a continential king (slightly bigger than a UK king), and the sheets are massive so I would have thought they would easily fit a super king. They are a little pricey but the sales are good, and they are fantastic quality. Looking forward to the baby post on this holiday too. x

    1. Thanks Annie, We’ve now decided the bed must have been an Emperor?! It was so amazingly HUGE! x

  19. We had a super king on our recent trip to NYC and it was amazing. Still in the process of persuading hubby we need one (and accompanying bedlinen) but I’m sure he will eventually be persuaded.

    I’d love a non sparkly bronzer for pair redheaded skin

    1. Hi Rachel, when I try all of these recommendations I’l definitely do a post. I’m looking for something sheer, non sparkly yet not too mat – not muddy or orange either! x

  20. We’ve got a super king bed and my bedding secret is homesense. They always have lots of lovely super king sets, I suppose because they don’t always sell so well as they are rare.

    Charlotte, what camera did you use for your pics, they are such brilliant quality?

    We are currently on our first family holiday at center parcs with our five month old, Everly. I wore a swimsuit for the first time today and definitely looked nothing like Charlotte. This is my motivation !!

    1. Hi Becky!

      I just bought a Nikon 1 J4 (point and shoot/digital – kind of a hybrid) and bought an additional lens for close up portraits. I actually have no idea how to use it and the light was so difficult to manage (bright sunshine then dark shade!) that most of my photos were awful! Once I get the hang of it I’ll write a full review for RMS x

      1. I bought a Nikon 1 a couple of years ago and it’s a great wee camera. After I bought a few lenses for it I found it swiftly replaced my DSLR because it’s much easier to use (and it’s obviously way more portable!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *