Gem Of De Caribbean Sea – First Family Holiday!

Afternoon!

By the time you read this, we’ll be back in cold arse England after two weeks of sun, sea, sand and flying fish in Barbados!

I’m writing this post whilst we still have one day left here because we’ve pretty much done everything we wanted to and are now using these last few days to relax and rest until we fly home.

 

We stayed at a beautiful villa in St James, on the West Coast of the Island, greeted by these stunning view from our bedroom every morning. The rooms were huge and the entire place was fully equipped – perfect for a family of 3-4, with babies, Toddlers and older.

Having been to Barbados several times (my parents are Bajan), we knew it was imperative to hire a car for the duration of our holiday, because it’s extremely costly and inconvenient  to use taxis whilst traveling around the island and it’s a lot easier with a little one to have your own transport.

My wonderful hubs did all of the driving and planned out our entire holiday with trips, sight seeing and family visits all factored in.

 

 

Having landed late afternoon on the Tuesday (Oct 3rd), our first venture out was the Wednesday. We spent the morning shopping for groceries and scoping out the local beaches – we weren’t interested in the touristy beaches as the local ones are better, honestly!

We then stopped in at Chutneys – our fave Roti joint located in Hastings shopping mall just 5 mins outside of Bridgetown. If you want to try a Roti, I’d definitely recommend this joint!

 

Next up the following day was our first trip to the beach with Dumpling. We went to Accra Beach because we heard it was lovely there and hadn’t been on previous trips.

It was as expected, absolutely gawjus! White sandy beach, clear blue sea and not too busy, although we did choose the low season for our holiday deliberately.

The umbrella, chairs and table were available for hire at $30(Barbados)/ £12 for the day which we thought was reasonable given the poor exchange rate at the moment!

Dumpling loced splashing about in the sea with Daddy and we all loved the fact that the sea was calm. Most of the sea on the west coast is suitable for everyone to go and swim,  bathe or relax!

 

On the Friday, after taking Dumpling to meet his 96 year old Great Gran Gran in St John (the main reason we came here!!) it was time to do what most Bajans do pon a Friduh night in Barbados – visit the Oistins Fish Fry!

A strip of fish markets located in the Oistins district on the south of the island, here you’ll find fresh grilled barracuda, flying fish, lobster, fish cakes, tuna…even bbq ribs and chicken are on offer with a selection of local dishes including macaroni pie, rice and peas, breadfruit, grilled potatoes and potato salad. Wash it all down with a cold soft drink or Banks Beer (local beer of Barbados) whilst listening to the karaoke or sweet soca and calypso tunes belting out from the many sound systems. Oistins is on Thursday to Saturday and is a must if you come to this Island!

 

 

We saved our first Saturday for a visit to Sunbury Plantation House. My late Auntie Maureen took my sister and I here for a tour and a massive buffet lunch 9 years ago. She worked as a cook here and so it was only fitting that we brought Dumpling for a tour and a meal in her memory. I am proud of the fond memories and love my auntie’s work colleagues still have of her, even 6 years after her passing. Hubs and Dumpling both enjoyed the delicious fish cakes and chicken wings with rice and veg.

We also managed to visit the Flower Forest on the same day to view the stunning tropical flowers and plants of the island, as it was close to get to.

 

 

 

Sunday was a visit to St Nicholas Abbey. Located in the parish of St Peter, this is not an actual Abbey, but a historical mansion with its own rum distillery. We enjoyed a tour of the building followed by a short film further explaining its history and ending with the part I missed out on – the rum tasting! Hubs enjoyed this but I couldn’t as pregnant women shouldn’t drink rum! 😫🤦🏽‍♀️Dumpling and I enjoyed a fruit punch instead!

 

 

Monday was my birthday! 🙋🏽😆🎂 To kick off the celebrations, we took a trip to Brandon’s Beach, which is about a 10 minute drive from our Villa.

Hidden away from the touristy hustle and bustle, this beach is where the locals come to ‘bathe’ and relax. It’s absolutely stunning! The sea is a lot calmer here than at Accra Beach and we pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves, bar a couple who were too busy enjoying each other to even notice us.

 

I had so much fun swimming with Dumpling and enjoying the clear waters. I would definitely recommend this beach to anyone visiting the island who isn’t interested in the busy tourist beaches (such as Hastings, St Lawrence Gap or any beach near Bridgetown basically!) and more minded towards a relaxing and private time in the Caribbean Sea. There’s also a beach restaurant and bar which offers you complementary rum punch! I did have a sip to try some but hubs was lucky enough to enjoy two glasses for the both of us!

If you’re taking children, I’d definitely recommend arm bands if they are very young and can’t swim independently or even better, a baby ‘dingy’ seat which we had for Dumpling as well as arm bands.

We spent the afternoon with a visit to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, where we saw turtles in the middle of mating (!), cheeky monkeys and sleepy snakes. This attraction isn’t very stroller friendly though, so for small Babies you’ll need a sling and for toddlers you’ll need a walking harness to keep hold of them as you walk around.

We ended my birthday evening with a cosy meal at our Villa – just the three of us which was perfect!

 

 

We kicked off our second Tuesday on the island with a visit to the Mount Gay Rum Distillery, just off of Spring Garden Highway. Hubs and I did the tour here 3 years ago on our honeymoon but there’s a shop where you can buy all the types of MG rum, brandy and liqueurs for less than you’d pay at the airport or at Cave Sheppherd (Barbados’ equivalent of the UK’s Debenhams Department Store).

Here, we stocked up on different types of casks for family back home as gifts – we don’t bring souvenirs back from Barbados; we bring rum or rum punch!

 

 

What came later that evening was nothing short of epic! Hubs wanted to treat me to a special birthday meal whilst we were here. So, he chose the most prestigious hotel on the island – Sandy Lane and their Bajan Blue dinner for my birthday treat. As you can see from the pictures, the food and experience of dining in beautiful surroundings right next to the sea were immense! We were both so stuffed and the staff were impeccable. They even brought out a chocolate birthday cake with a sparkler on it and sang Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday! I was so overwhelmed and so grateful to my hubs for making this such a special birthday for me. Dumpling knew nothing about any of this as he slept through the entire meal and the singing!!

 

 

They even gave us a ‘doggy bag’ to take home with us. Bump and I were clearly happy about that as we left after an amazing meal!

 

 

After an epic two-day Birthday celebration, it was back to our sight-seeing across the Island. Wednesday morning brought Hunte’s Gardens in the parish of St Joseph. Here, you’ll find stunning tropical plants, trees and flowers. I’m not a flower or plant person but I did find it interesting to see all these different types which are indigenous to tropical climates. Once again however, we found that this attraction was not suitable for strollers so you’ll definitely need either a baby sling or harness for toddlers to walk around. But be careful as there are lots of stairs and stepping stones!

 

 

Next up and the final attraction on our sight seeing list for Barbados (we’d already seen a lot of the Island when we came 3 years ago) was the Animal Flower Cave in St Lucy, right at the top of the Island.

Not much to do with flowers, but rather situated at the top of a cliff, the Animal Flower Cave contains pools of water deep enough to have a swim in. There is also a restaurant serving local dishes like Flying Fish Cutters (sandwich) and Fish Cakes. Hubs ordered a freshly made Rum Punch which went down well and Dumpling almost scoffed the entire Fish Cutter! Think it’s safe to say he’s embraced his Bajan roots!

 

By Thursday, having visited all the sights on hubs’ list, we were free to visit my Gran Gran, Aunties and cousins again in St John. Much to my surprise and joy, one of my cousins had flown in from New Jersey to celebrate her birthday with her mum, my Auntie and spend the weekend. So we were blessed enough to spend time with her and she got to meet Dumpling…and bump!

We went back for another dip in the sea at Brandon’s beach on Friday before spending the rest of the weeken chilling at the Villa. Saturday brought a huge binder storm which cut the power out for about an hour, although I wasn’t worried too much as I’d heard that’s common when there’s strong wind and rain on the Island. We spent most of the day holed up in the villa munching Turnovers (a favourite amongst Bajans – sweet dough filled with coconut and brown sugar with vanilla essence and rolled into a bun) and only ventured out to Hastings for a Roti from Chutneys and some gelato! 🍧

 

 

Our remaining time in Barbados was pretty rainy, although on our final Sunday we were able to take Dumpling to Farley Hill National Park for a run around and playtime when the rain let up for a few hours.

The great thing about rain in Barbados is that even though it pours down cats and dogs for what can seem like hours, within 30 mins of the sun coming back out, it’s like it was never raining at all! So, if you see rain over here, don’t write off your entire day like you would do in the UK…just wait for the rain to let up for an hour and then crack back on!

 

By Sunday evening we were Marvin so hubs decided to take us to The Beach House restaurant for dinner. I always feed Dumpling before we leave to go out because that way I know that 1) he has eaten well and 2) what he has eaten I.e. no salty, sugary foods.

The restaurnt is situated right alongside the sea on the West Coast of the Island and it’s actually quite deceptively stunning once inside.

 

I went for the fish cakes to start off and hubs had crab cakes, which weren’t to our taste at all! But they were freshly cook s and well presented.

For our mains, hubs has curry chicken whilst I munched on Flying Fish and fries. The waiting staff were impeccable. So much so, that one of them noticed my bump and brought out a plate with a chocolate cake and ‘congrats’ written on the plate. Neither of us asked for this and we both thought this was a lovely kind gesture!

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Our final day on the island started off with a treat for mummy – getting my raggedy gel nail polish taken off and replaced with normal varnish – nails and I do not get on very well! I went to Glo Spa in Westmoreland, St James and was looked after by the lovely Lisa, who turned out to be an avid Shaun T and Beachbody fan like me! We had a lot in common and she was so nice ans accommodating even though I was 30 minutes late due to getting lost! I would definitely recommend her salon for nails, spa and quality service!

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We finished up Monday with a final trip to Brandon’s Beach, which Dumpling loved as he is now a very keen water baby!

By Tuesday afternoon, it was time for us to leave this beautiful gem of the Caribbean Sea and head back home to London. We had a fabulous first family holiday and one day, we hope to return with both Dumpling and Bump.

If you’ve lasted this long, thank you for reading!! I hope his post has given you some insight (and helpful tips!) into Beautiful Barbados and shown that it is possible to enjoy a long distance family vacay with a Toddler!

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Until next time, Bim! 🙋🏽🙌🏾🇧🇧✈️🇬🇧

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