1. Arrival at Villa Kentia, James Villas
It was dark, but we knew we had hit on something pretty amazing.
“Good Lord” I exclaimed as I reached the top of the steep steps from the driveway to this incredible terrace and saw the villa itself. My 5yo sensed he was onto something, I’m normally very careful not to swear or blaspheme, and Good Lord is not something I would ever say, but I was so very taken aback by the size, the luxury and the incredible placement of Villa Kentia in a valley overlooking the sea, the view is just incredible. An hour later and G was still opening cupboards and doors, bouncing on beds, flicking the switch to make the pool light up, and calling out in disbelief ‘Good Lord Mummy Look!’
It was even better in daylight too.
2. Star gazing
I tried to take photos at night when we carried blankets out onto the terrace and snuggled with a child each under blankets gazing at the stars but they didn’t come out so well. I hope, with or without photos, it is a moment they never forget. I always remember looking at the stars with my mum, its a moment I treasure and one that always grounds me when I feel lost in the world.
3. An afternoon on Comino
Our villa was ideally situated, just 10k from the ferries to Gozo and boats to Comino, and uninhabited island with the most incredible clear water and shallow, sheltered bay. We swam and then climbed back on the rocks to dry off.
Here it is in glorious technicolour. Our first family adventure with the Go Pro. Swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon in the uninhabited island of Comino and back at the villa. Music is the Swimming Song, by the fabulous McGarrigle Sisters who my mum adored, I wish she could be here to see this film. Happy memories.
On the boat back I looked at my family and my son snuggled on my husband’s knee, with his thumb in his mouth and eyelashes to die for, may daughter cuddling me full of smiles from an exhilarating afternoon and I just had the most wonderful feeling of love for them all. Sometimes that gets lost on the school run, amongst the chaos of home. We’ve all been closer since the holiday, we appreciate each other more.
5. Halloween at Popeye Village
The kids don’t like missing out on Halloween. But we found out that Popeye Village – the set from the Robin Williams film, now a tourist attraction – had Halloween fun and was only minutes down the road. We got to trick or treat all the houses from the film set, and better still Popeye popped up and scared us all silly! If you are ever in Malta its a fun day out in a beautiful setting and includes a boat trip. Halloween at Popeye Village sounds legendary, 11 year olds plus can explore in the dark, it certainly looked like they were preparing the village to be super scary by night.
6. Halloween fun at Villa Kentia
We spotted these squash in the local supermarket (I love foreign supermarkets – one of the joys of self catering) and had to make our own lanterns.
Later it was time for some more trick or treating. Villa Kentia is all on one floor, but has 5 doors that open on to the outside, so was perfect for Trick or Treating.
Would you let them in? The pool lit up at night, a great safety feature and source of fascination for us all.
7. A stroll to Mellieha Bay
Just stunning, I love that Malta has so many bays, it makes swimming so safe for kids. We could access the rocky stretch of Mellieha bay by a short 10 minute walk from Villa Kentia, or drive to the sandy bay. It was great fun for beach combing, rock pooling and glass, stone and crystal collecting.
This caused huge excitement
Mr A and L spent time on google trying to work out what it was. Then @picasso_brock on instagram told me it was:
Layers of chocolate halite /gypsum and calcite. This group of minerals together is usually found in the walls of caves after years of continuous layered growth
I love instragram tags, the #seaglass and #beachcombing tags are also fascinating.
8. Pea soup in Rampila, Valetta
‘Either you eat pea soup or we have to make a run for it when the waiter isn’t looking.’
We somehow found ourselves in Ramplia, a posh restaurant, nestled between the walls of the city of Valetta, Malta’s capital and a absolute wonder to explore. Rampila tunnels under the road and into the city walls. We spotted the place from the bridge out of the city, spent so long fathoming out how to get into it, that when it turned out to be super posh it was too late to turn back. The only thing on the menu I thought they would vaguely entertain was soup, turns out they loved it.
They also behaved beautifully for most of the time, we played boxes, a game my mum taught me, and dipped lovely rolls in soup. I ate beautiful ravilioi with pesto and pistachios.
They came out and had a water fight in the street, but hey we survived!
9. The Ggantija Temple, Gozo
I love it when little hands touch something really old. There are so many megalithic temples on Malta, UNESCo sites, this one was 5600 years old, older than stonehenge. I find making that connections with the world’s ancient history profoundly moving. This graffiti on part of the temples, which were excavated in the early 1800s, goes back only as far as 1867, but even that seems incredible somehow – look at that font!
10. The Azure Window, Gozo
‘Thank you for bringing me here Mummy and Daddy, it was amazing.’
When we arrived the kids were complaining, we’d promised beach and this was ‘just rocks’. But this place is awe inspiring and magical. We took a 4 Euro boat trip through caves, to admire the Azure Window itself, which you see behind me, a stunning arch in the cliffs. We had ice creams and clambered on the rocks, which is crammed full of fossils and resembles the surface of the moon. The sun set on Mr A’s last day of his 30s and I took this photo which brought a tear to my eye as the shutter clicked.
Thanks to James Villas for hosting us at Villa Kentia, it was everything we had hoped it would be, and more. A superb base for all our adventures and for entertaining our friends who live out there. For more information on James Villas in Malta please check out this page.
Find out more about what we did beyond the villa
Read my Top 5 Things in Malta with Kids on Space in Your Case
Tour the stunning doors of Malta and Gozo over on A Residence
To watch a day in the life of a James Villa, go here.
Bye for now