Family · Family Life

A Holiday without stabilisers

View to Kalyves


It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s probably best to go on holiday to recover from a house move. Although with a toddler in tow true breaks for the adults are long gone for a while!

This house move has certainly been quite emotional as we made the break from the house and town that had been home for 8 ½ years. Plus it has been a total change of lifestyle; the ease that we can do things now is very different.

We realised that this would be our first trip abroad with Ophelia without friends (friends being the stabilisers – strength in numbers!) so in order to keep things simple we decided on Crete and this was our 3rd visit to the island. I remembered that our Bex’s Auntie Andrea lives in Crete and we’ve never yet popped into her restaurant. A few WhatsApp messages to Australia gleaned the info that we required: we needed to look around Kalyves for places to stay.

In order to keep things simple we decided to go for all inclusive. This is not our normal habitat as we’re fans of camping, self-catering and staycations. The all-inclusive holiday we did after moving into the first house was a bit of a disaster so we were a bit nervous about the whole thing.

On the third holiday with Mingo; O finally gets the hang of it!

I looked on the usual package holiday company websites and found a resort that looked good and it was near Kalyves: Kiani Family Beach Resort. The packages started to look a bit expensive and the flights were at ridiculous times so we decided to book direct and in the process saved ourselves £500! As a result we were able to book much better flight times and a better room that had a slide across door so we could give Ophelia her own little room. We can’t share a room with her as she gets way to giddy and no-one gets any sleep.

The night before our printer decided to die on us so we had to beg the use of a neighbour’s printer as we didn’t to pay the £50 fee at the airport! Leeds Bradford Airport has finally finished all the building work and we weren’t queuing out of a prefab hooray! Although we hadn’t really realised this and only discovered all the new shops when our flight was called. Doh! The other mini disaster was the girl at the coffee place just placing the lid of O’s bottle on top instead of screwing it slightly. I didn’t realise she’d done this as it looked properly screwed on; cue water everywhere, all over the boarding passes that we struggled to produce the night before …..

There were tears (mine) when Humphrey was temporarily lost. O had hidden him in a console

We had to suffer Ryanair for the flights and as usual there was a 30 minutes delay minimum both ways. Once airborne the flights were fine and Ophelia did really well. That’s when GRIEF decided to pay a visit: there were 2 blonde sisters (ridiculously cute obviously) who looked like they had a similar age gap to Alexandra and Ophelia wearing matching dresses. “Here’s what you could’ve won”. That’s the tings about plodding through life after loss: there are always moments that catch you off guard.

We hired a car from SIXT as we booked everything separately and we didn’t want to rely on transfers so we had control on how early we got to the airport. It also meant we could escape the compound if things got too much or samey for us.

The resort was great and did exactly what it said on the tin. It’s designed for families with children under 12. There are a few things for the older kids like a games room but it’s mainly for the littlies. The resort is also right next to the beach so you get the best of both worlds with 4 pools.

Candle for Alexandra

Once we were settled in we decided to walk from the resort to Kalyves village after being told at reception that it was a 20 minute walk. IT WAS NOT. Andrea looked astounded that we had walked there in the heat. Lesson learnt: the next time we went, we drove down! I got a blister on my foot that is still pretty bleurgh a month later!

Failing at stopping Ophelia run in church

We had a great week relaxing and taking O to the mini disco each night. The food was much better than the disaster holiday but I think the best hotel food is still Cavo Spada. Hopefully, the next resort holiday we do, O might be big enough to do the kids club. The weather was great and thankfully none of us got burnt. What was really great about the resort was that there were families from all over Europe there and we heard several different languages. I only saw one Nana lookalike from Benidorm type and there was only one Essex Mum screeching about the place so generally it was very relaxed.

Mini Disco!

As there were a lot of other families I noticed that even the really hot slim ones had Mum tums too. I’ve now made the decision that I’ve never really enjoyed wearing bikinis so I’m not going to bother now. I’m going to cultivate a collection of smoking hot one pieces! And eat the chips and cake on holiday!


As we had the car it meant we could go into Chania town a couple of times and we went to the ship museum and visited the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church and lit a candle for Alexandra in both. For atheists we visit a lot of churches! Mainly because they’re cool (in temperature) and we like the history behind them. We also found an art gallery that sold really fun moving trinket things and we got a little poppy that sways. We got talking to the lady in the gallery as she’s Greek American we discovered that there was a base nearby which explained the high number of American voices we heard. She was from New Jersey so we exchanged stories about Geordie/Jersey Shore; dirty Jersey!

We spent some time with a lovely family from London mainly because Ophelia adored their little boy Freddie. There were lots of “where’s Freddie?” “yay Freddie” moments”. Time with them was all too brief because they seemed to be on our wave length. We didn’t mention Alexandra to them because the conversation didn’t really flow that way but the big thing for me was not feeling too guilty about this. Knowing about Alexandra is a privilege and I wouldn’t have minded talking about her to them but I wasn’t about to launch her into the conversation without the flow of conversation taking us that way.

It was a great break and I can’t believe it’s a month ago already!

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