Years back one of my twitter friends called me a jetsetter, and I think that describes me perfectly. I love travelling, and there is no way I would be able to count how many times a year I fly to places.
We are very lucky and go on holidays a few times a year, and I am very thankful for that as living in the UK was a huge change for me after spending more than 5 years in sunny Sydney.
Almost ten years on, and I am still not used to the weather here, and live from one holiday to another one.
Both my girls were just 3 months old when they flew for the first time, and I believe that because they fly so often, they love it, and flying with them is quite easy.
It’s true that Olivia is just 2 ( actually turning 3 next month) and choosing our holiday destinations is usually limited by 4 – 5 hours on a plane as I am not sure how she would cope with a much longer flight like to the Oz or South America. This is one of the limits we have had when looking for our holiday spots, but not for long, and I am already checking some Caribbean holidays as we loved our stay in Barbados a few years back!
Last Xmas we decided to go for not so traditional holiday, and celebrate Xmas and the arrival of the New Year in style at the Stella Di Mare resort in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. We do not have much family in the UK, and as we all love sunshine, we thought we would give it a go. Another reason was that daddy spent a few very stressful months at work, and he really needed a very relaxing break, and to be honest staying in London with grey skies, rain, cold temperatures would probably not be the best for him.
Me and daddy looking very relaxed on Xmas Eve 2014 as no stress and also no need for cooking, just having a fab time!
If you think about spending your next holidays in Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh is the place, and here are a few things we enjoyed on our holiday!
When you say Egypt to me, automatically I think of camels and Cleopatra. I love movies about her, she was so beautiful and if there is a woman from the old days I would have wanted to meet, it would be definitely her. Unfortunately, that’s impossible, so back to the camels.
Would you believe the first camel we spotted was once we were on the way from the airport? Both girls were screaming, and I just could not believe there was a camel on the main road! Later on, we were told, that it should not have been happening, but some people try to find and entertain tourists anywhere to make money.
That was also when Isabelle decided she needed to ride a camel, and was so excited about it. I cannot say I was against it, but I do have huge respect for anything bigger than me, I mean animals, but as I did not want to spoil the fun, I also showed my interest, and here you go, all our family camel riding! Check me & Isabelle, and daddy carrying Olivia on another camel.
I can honestly say that it is worth doing it, despite Isabelle being horrified once the local guides explained how to get on and off the camels. It was not easy, and if you look carefully in the photo, you can see, she is not laughing, but she was brave and was hiding her tears.
So yes, go for it, but be ready for a challenge. I am pleased I have done it, and it’s off my “to do” thing list. On the other hand Olivia looked very relaxed despite daddy almost falling off the saddle, but that’s just another story!
At the end, we all made it to the desert, and it was well worth it, just look at the photos!
Visit the desert
Camel riding was just part of the package we had with one of the locals who picked us up at our resort and drove us to the desert. After 20 minutes camel riding, we were greeted by the Bedouins ( an ethnic group, descended from nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts), and offered their freshly made tea. Isabelle was also helping out with making the bread which by the way was very tasty.
Then we climbed up the nearest hill and were astonished by the amazing views. We had also finally had a few pics taken as a family, which you can see below.
The only downside of having a sunny holiday in the middle of winter is that the daylight is gone by 4.30/5pm, and it gets really dark quickly. It got a bit colder, but a long sleeved t-shirt or a cardigan was fine.
We had a lovely meal consisting of their traditional food, some chicken stew, boiled vegetables, rice, bread. It was very tasty.
Some people were also into the shisha, which I was also tempted by, but when I saw daddy’s expression on his face, I kindly refused. I was worried Isabelle would see it as smoking which we are very much against.
Anyway, watching the sun going down in a desert is one of the most magnificent views you can get. We did the same when we visited Uluru (The Ayers Rock) in Australia, and loved doing the same again, this time in Egypt.
Explore the local market and town
I loved staying at the resort, but it was a nice change to go into town and explore the locals and the buzz around. It was really busy, and be ready for getting approached by the locals literally every second. It can get a bit too much after a while, and despite being polite, there was one local who just wouldn’t understand no, thank you.
Luckily most of the locals were really friendly, and we also went into one of the shops and dressed in their traditional clothing! Check us out!
It feels like yesterday when I was swimming in the Red Sea, admiring the amounts of sea life, and enjoying the sunshine. This was my first time to Egypt, and I was very excited as really miss diving and snorkelling. Since leaving Australia, we have not had many opportunities to go snorkelling or diving.
Both girls are too young for diving, but Isabelle has been lately talking loads about trying snorkelling, and this was supposed to be the first time to do it properly, not just in a pool, but in the sea.
Daddy went diving in the Red Sea years ago, and promised I would not be disappointed. It is easy to get spoilt but snorkelling and diving when you live in Australia, and diving at the Great Barrier Reef was an unforgettable experience for me.
Isabelle really wanted to take some pictures of all the sea creatures, so instead of some cheap disposable underwater camera we invested in a GoPro, and shot some amazing videos which then both girls enjoyed watching on my laptop once back home in London.
I went snorkelling on my own a few times in the late afternoon when nobody was there, and that’s when I spotted most creatures. Some of these included a blue spotted ray, a lionfish, moray eel, loads of colourful fish and a jellyfish too. I love the sea and feel so happy surrounded by all the sea life and the water. I think I definitely must have been a sea creature in my past life!
If your little ones decides for snorkelling, it is worth investing in a silicone mask and snorkel as the cheap versions you get in a supermarket are just making the whole experience worse. Once we got Isabelle a new mask and snorkel (no need for fins as floating in the Red Sea is a piece of cake), she wanted to go back all the time.
If you have a little one like our Olivia who cannot do snorkelling, take them on a glass bottom boat trip. It’s not expensive, and you can see loads of fish and other sea creatures without getting wet. Our Olivia absolutely loved it. Don’t forget to put some sunscreen on as you get easily burnt once on a boat.
There is one thing I really wanted to do when in Egypt, to visit the famous pyramids. We did not manage to do so this time, and that means there is another reason to go back one day soon.
If you are thinking about a lovely family holiday, Egypt is definitely a great destination even at Xmas. The weather was absolutely amazing, the sea was warm and I loved everything about our holiday.
We paid for all our flights and accommodation, but I would not hesitate for a minute to recommend the Stella Di Mare resort. It had everything we needed. From the second we arrived, I felt like in a different word, very friendly staff like nowhere else we have been before. If we really wanted we would not have to leave the resort for the whole of our stay as it had everything we needed.
Both girls were very happy to stay in the kids club, and that way I managed to relax on a sun bed while reading a book (which I have not done in years, I read lots of blogs, but no books sadly), and daddy went to the gym a few times too.
There were always some sports activities for anyone to join in, like yoga, water polo, aqua aerobics, and the temperature in the pools was very pleasant.
One thing I cannot forget to mention was the fabulous choice of food. Every day they offered not only food you would expect at an all inclusive place, but also food typical for one country, so we had an Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Greek, German, Russian, and many others to taste. I do not have a sweet tooth, but the selection of the desert was something I have never seen before.
We had an amazing break. Something we all needed and believe also deserved. I am sure we will be back one day, but as I love exploring new places, it might be a few years.
By the way, this February half-term holidays we will be spending somewhere very cold! Flying to see my family in the Czech Republic, will be going skiing, so stay tuned for more of our travel adventures!