‘Fill your life with adventures and with stories to tell’
Children need adventure, they need to experience risk in order to develop their ability to deal with situations and to build up their self confidence. It encourages them to be more resilient and to think for themselves. Whether the adventure be small or big, indoors or out children should be experiencing adventure to build up their skills and to able to assess the danger around them. Not only do children develop trust, empathy and compassion but they learn to master their own fears and are able to help others get through them.
As parents we should be teaching our children to assess the danger and how to deal with the risk of being adventurous. As much as I want to wrap my boys up in cotton wool and lock them away from any danger I know that I must allow them to experience adventure to gain knowledge and new skills.
I want my boys to have memories of us being adventurous together and hopefully they will last a lifetime and something that they will then take on with their own families.
I want us to visit new places together.
I want us to try new challenges, like rock climbing and diving.
A couple of years ago I took my boys camping in Lee Valley, we travelled around on our bikes and spent the summer nights out walking along the River Lee. It’s a holiday that they still talk about and are constantly requesting to go back. It didn’t cost much and wasn’t a glamorous holiday but it was something we did together as a unit. We cycled along the river bank with an unknown destination, stopping where it took our fancy. We cycled for miles using only our sense of direction to get back. Searched for geocaches. Played hide and seek in the forests. Climbed trees. And picniced in fields.
It was the first time I had ever gone out cycling alone so far with the boys, but I am so glad that I did it. As we don’t live too far from there, we travelled there and back on our bikes with just clothes in our rucksacks. We had to deal with getting lost, bee stings and how to deal with punctures. It was amazing, in fact I am too scared to go back as I don’t think we could experience another holiday like it.
Now, we’re not the most adventurous family but we still try new things, even if we are scared.
We spent this summer in Malta. The boys went swimming in the sea everyday. They taught themselves to dive, to snorkel and faced their fears by jumping off of cliffs into the crystal clear water below.
I, myself, am not that confident and would call myself a scaredy cat. As I watched my boys jump in but couldn’t face doing it myself. It took me at least a week to pluck up the courage to jump in from about 2 metres high. I was so glad that I did it, my boys just kept hugging me. I felt that I had achieved something, although it was little in comparison to what my boys had been doing. I felt a sense of adrenaline rush through me.
Here are a few things the boys got up to in the summer
Jumping from cliffs into the sea. They were taught to assess the danger first. To swim around first and to see how deep it was. And to also look out for any jellyfish.
In this day and age where children would rather communicate via social media and spend most of their spare time with their face in front of a screen I think that it’s important to encourage our children to venture outside and explore, to learn for themselves and to achieve that sense of adrenaline from adventure. I want my boys to be challenged and to be comfortable in their surroundings.
I want to spend time with my boys outside, it’s something we can do together without the distractions of modern technology. It’s about making memories, enjoying each others company and creating stories to tell for when they grow up.
Malta is a great place to explore and travel to, the coasts around the island is rugged and has lots of caves and cliffs. There are not many sandy beaches but swimming from the rocks can be just as fun. The island basks In about 299 days of sunshine a year, with the summer months reaching up to 35c, its an ideal country to catch some rays any time of the year.
Malta along with its sister islands, Gozo and Comino has many popular sandy beaches but these can become very busy during peak times.
I suggest going off of the beaten track and explore the island and it’s many hidden gems.
Here are a few that we have visited
Imgiebah Bay / Selmun Beach
Found on the North of the Island, this bay is a sandy and secluded beach. The road down to it is very small and uneven (pretty much a dirt track) there is just about enough space for one car to drive along. Once you’ve parked the car you need to walk down a hill, which can be slippy under the foot on very dry days, to the bay. Because it is untouched, there are no amenities – just a few bins. Make sure you take plenty to drink and food to eat. The beach is small, so no space to kick a ball a round and you can get plagued with wasps, as they fly around the bins. That said, it is quiet and doesn’t attract many tourists.
St Peters Pool
One of our favourite places to visit when in Malta, the boys love to dive into the cool, crystal clear water at this natural swimming pool. St Peters Pool is close to Marsaxlokk on the south of the Island. There are flat rocks that surround the pool, which offer shade and a place to sunbathe. Although, it is advertised as a place to relax and sunbathe, everyone that visits here to dive off of the high rocks. It can get very busy here with the younger visitors and groups of adults. So i would advice to visit earlier on in the day to get a spot, especially if you have children.
Not only is St Peters Pool a pretty natural swimming pool, with it’s crystal clear blue-green waters and beautiful to look at, it also has something rather cool going on the rocks surrounding it. People have carved names of singers, bands, groups and famous people into the rock.
This place really is an amazing little find. It is one of the most secluded little bays that we visited, we pretty much had the place to ourselves, apart from the odd couple. It is situated on the south of the Island, over looking Mellieha bay. The path down to it is winding and uneven, but definitely worth the climb down.
There was a tiny amount of fine sand but enough for the children to play in. Lots of rocks to search for crabs in and the shallow water was ideal to look at the fish.
Again, there are no amenities around so go prepared. We found a little cave at the bottom which we took shelter in, it was big enough to fit our bags in and a chair to sit on and take shelter from the glaring sun
Is a small bay on the west side of the Island of Malta. It is surrounded by vertical cliffs and has a pebble beach. It is not easily accessible, making it quite secluded. It’s a popular bay to reach by boat. The only way down is via a tricky, steep and slippery pathway which takes about 15-20 minutes. The climb down is worth the views over the bay. I would advice not to do the journey wearing sandals or any type of footwear that can aid your feet in slipping, as there are many rocks and boulders to climb over. Once down, the beach is full of pebbles and the water is calm and clear. My boys found a huge flat rock in the water by the shoreline, which made a great slide. They spent their time sliding down it into the water, there were lots of squeals of laughter and fun. Again, like many of the bays that i have mentioned, there are no amenities. As the climb down is steep and tiring, carrying lots of extra baggage can be exhausting.
This bay is next to St Peters Pool and is very similar, but is more family friendly. The water is crystal blue and is not as deep. There is still a height to the surrounding rocks, so jumping in can still be fun however, there is more of a variety for those not as confident in jumping in. The water is calm and there is an overhang which is fun to swim under.
Is based on the North side, close to Mellieha bay. It is of shallow waters, that makes it ideal for young children to paddle in. We like to visit here and spend time to relax, it is a quiet bay, with not many visitors. Take a walk up to the battery and walk down to rocks towards the waters edge for a more of a secluded swim. Ideal for jumping in and sunbathing.
Is a popular swimming and diving spot, with a small beach that is surrounded by lots of fish restaurants. As the beach was small we took a walk further along and found an ideal place to jump into the water from a diving board.
Based North Gozo, this inlet is very small which means it can become quite busy. This beautiful, secluded inlet is wedged between two cliffs. The view down from the top of the valley is stunning. Take the steep staircase down to the beach, which is tiny and full of pebbles. Rock shoes are advised. When the water is calm, it is a lovely place for a swim but when the sea is rough it can become quite dangerous. The waves start crashing against the valley.
Although the sea looks calm in the photo, the waves were thrashing against the cliff rocks and making a large banging noise. The boys managed a little swim down the inlet, before heading back.
Inland Sea at Dwejra
This small salt water lake is next door to where the Azure Window once stood proudly, before the structure fell down. It is connected to the Mediterranean sea by a tunnel that goes through the cliffs. You can get a boat trip through the cave or just sit and chill by the water. The water is calm and many people swim over to the caves and climb up the cliff surface to jump into the sea.
Like anywhere around Malta and Gozo, the sea is made easily accessible by ladders, they have been placed around the rocks so that swimmers can get in and out with ease. Malta is an ideal holiday destination for divers and snorkelers, there are dive sites situated all around the islands.
If the weather is rough I wouldn’t advise a trip to any of these beaches as they can become dangerous. We visited Malta during August and we only had a few rough days where we wasn’t sure about the sea currents, so we visited the sandy bays instead. What this island lacks in sand makes up for it in cliffs, rocks and shorelines.
Although the island is small, every time we go (We have been 5 times) we always find somewhere new to explore.
Do you know of anymore secret hidden gems that the island has to offer?
We have visited the beautiful Island of Malta many times, and over the years visited many places. The following places in this list are places that we have visited with our young children and would recommend a visit.
Popeye Village is a film set that is over 30 years old, it’s the set of the 1980 Musical Production of ‘Popeye’ and it is now one of Malta’s major tourist attraction. Popeye the sailor and his friends are around the village to greet the guests and entertain throughout the day.
Take a walk around Popeyes cabin, explore Olives house, play games in the sawmill, become a part of the film in the main square or relax by the splash pool whilst the children have some fun.
Anchor bay comes alive in the summer with an inflatable adventure course, so whilst you top up your tan the children can have fun in the sea.
Popeye Village is open all year round.
Down the slide
Its a knock out
Leaving our mark
Popeyes new family
With popeye and Bluto
walking down to the village
a view of the village
In the rink
eating at the Oils
A sleeping Jak
In the stocks
Popeye knocks out Bluto
Its a fight
Here comes Popeye in disguise
A spot of golf
Oh the colour of that sea
Down the slide
What a shot
A view of the village from the boat
On the boat ride
St Peters Pool
St Peters Pool is the most beautiful natural swimming pools in Malta, situated South of the Island near the Fishing Village Marsaxlokk (which is where you will find the market where they sell fresh fish, local delicacies and an abundance of souvenirs to take home)
The drive and parking to St Peters Pool isn’t smooth but it is definitely worth it. I would advise anyone who has young children who are not strong swimmers not to leave them alone swimming. There are ladders to help visitors to get down into the water but for those who are feeling a little more adventurous, you can always dive down into the deep pool below.
There are no shop nearby, so take along everything you will need to spend the day there.
The sea water is crystal clear, the flat rocks surrounding the pool are ideal for sunbathing on and perfect for place to get away from the business of the sandy beaches.
The walk down from the parking area is about 5 minutes away
My boys loved it here and spent ages diving into the deep blue water, they even plucked up the courage to jump down from the highest point (not when Mummy was watching though!)
Malta doesn’t have many beaches to boast about the ones that it does have are beautiful. Mellieha beach being one of them. The beach is long and there are plenty of beds to relax on and kiosks to dine from along it. During the summer months it hosts an inflatable playground, costing £6 euros for the hour. The boys enjoyed an hour of fun whilst I managed to grab an hour of peace reading a book. We managed to barter the hire of the sunbeds down from £12 euros down to £8.
Lots of free parking is available and is easily assessable via bus.
Mdina and Rabat
Located in centre of the Island, Mdina is the old capital of Malta.
Mdina is a fascinating place to visit, one of Europe’s finest examples of and ancient walled city, it traces back more than 4000 years. Tradition says that The Apostle St Paul lived here after being shipwrecked on the Island. Just outside the city walls, in Rabat, you can visit St Paul’s Grotto.
Mdina was built high up on top of a plateau. Standing on the edge of Mdinas walls you have some spectacular views of the surrounding fields and villages.
Mdina and Rabat is full to the brim of cultural heritage and history. Lamp lit by night,the Mdina is also referred to as ‘The Silent City’.
Take a walk around the cobbled, narrow shady streets and take in all of the historical beauty within. It is home now to some of Malta’s noble families living in the impressive palaces that line the streets.
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes within the walls for refreshments and Souvenir shops to visit.
It is free the enter the Mdina but it costs to enter into some of the attractions, like the Malta experience and the Dungeons.
Mdina is a favourite place of my boys, they adore the Norman and baroque architecture in the buildings.
Just outside of the Mdina walls there are beautiful gardens to walk around and also a little play area for the children to enjoy.
The Splash and Fun park
Malta’s only water park, that’s not in the sea, ideal for all the family. The Splash & Fun Park has several swimming pools, water slides, Children’s Dinosaur Park & Splash Land, a large wave pool, diving pools, lazy river and deck chairs to relax on. Throughout the day there is entertainment put on in and around the wave pool area. We sat and watched a spanish dance routine, took part in the aqua aerobics and the boys entered a football competition.
A show around the pool
My middle boys favourite thing to do was Dive from the high board into the diving pool.
On the way out of the water park we noticed that there was a trampoline enclosure, everyone had a good jump around before leaving
Pretty bay Birzebbuga
If you are visiting St Peters Pool then just a little further around the coast you will find Pretty Bay in Birzebbuga. It’s in the southern region of Malta.
The sight looking out from Pretty Bay isn’t spectacular, unless you like looking boats and dock yards, but the beach is pretty and there is a lovely play area and football pitches that runs along the beach. Also its the only beach that we visited where you can sit on the grass, and sit under a tree shielded from the sun.
watching the small fishes in the shallow are around the rocks
Swimming in the sea
Sand castle building
Blue lagoon Comino
The only way to get over to see the beautiful blue water at blue lagoon, Comino is by boat or ferry. Situated in between Malta and Gozo, the island of Comino is only 3.5 square kilometers, it is car free and only has one hotel. The Blue lagoon is the popular attraction here, with the white sand and clear water, the sea becomes a gorgeous aquamarine. The water is clean and transparent, ideal for snorkelling and swimming, the water is shallow so it is perfect for young children to enjoy.
Blue lagoon, between Comino and Cominito
The beach becomes very busy
Looking out to Cominito
View from the boat
Taking a walk along the empty dirt track
I would advice to attempt to get there early as in the peak times it can get very busy, and the beach is only small. Many people lay down there towels up on the rocks and walk down the steps to get down to the water.
There are refreshment vans parked up where the boats are, selling fruit, drinks and hot food.
This little bay situated just passed Kalkara is not normally a busy attraction to holiday makers, it used more by the locals. It is the beach that I myself attended regularly as a child when we holidayed in Malta as we had family living in Kalkara. Looking out from the beach you can see the Capital of Malta, Valetta. There are refreshment vans parked up and portable toilets to use.
Not only is this beach a little quieter than others it has a slide that goes down into the sea from the walkway. Beware that the sea is deep here, there are some steps coming out of the water very close to the slide.
Swimming out to the big boat docked there
The view of the beach
Diving in from the slide
Ready to go down the slide
Jumping into the deep sea
Smart City is just around the corner, a new build to Malta, where you can watch the water fountain and have a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants and bars.
Kalkara marina is a pretty little place to stop after a swim, it’s quiet and peaceful. There is also a little park for the children to play in whilst the adults can sit on a bench and look out to the boats
I hope you like reading our top places to visit in Malta. There are many more places to visit like the peaceful island of Gozo, the stunning infrastructure of Mosta, the hustle and bustle of the capital city Valetta, the aqua marine park in Bugibba ( which also has a pretty impressive play area for the children to play in outside) and Marsaxlokk fishing village. I could on, but I think that I may have shared enough already 🙂
Last week we was away on holiday in Bugibba, Malta. We was lucky to have wifi in our apartment so using the Geocache app on my phone I searched to see of there was one local to where we was staying. To our surprise there was one just on the next road along.
We have found a couple of geocaches back home in England and couldn’t wait to see if we could find the Welcome to Bugibba one.
I gathered the boys around and read out the Geocache description
“Living in Bugibba I came across the thought it needs a Geocache near the Main Square, but also a bit hidden so the cacher gets a closer look into the back roads of the touristy town and can log undisturbed from the tourist-muggles.
Don’t be afraid of the dogs next door, they bark only”
The Hint was ‘Corsair’
We knew from walking around the local streets that Corsair was the Diving centre around the corner, so we headed on over to them.
It was on a short walk away, a few minutes later we was stood in front of the shop and looking up at a big shop sign.
Joseph put his hand behind the sign and felt around, he touched something hard and pulled it out.
Inside the box was a log sheet and few items to exchange something for.
The boys placed in a 10 pence piece and a luggage lock, they took away a little bead and a shell.
We love to explore new areas and geocaching is a great way of doing that, it’s exciting and thrilling, especially when you get the cache.
We did try to find another Cache that was a little further away but as I had no GPS on my phone it was a little harder and we didn’t succeed in finding it. We will try next time we are there and hopefully we will be adding another find to our geocache list.
If you like exploring, why not download the app and get finding some geocaches 🙂
Last week we flew to the beautiful Island of Malta, home to gorgeous scenic coves, tasty mediterranean food and of course the Popeye Movie set. Popeye village is a popular tourist attraction in Malta and you can understand why, as soon as you look down at the bay below you, you are hit with such beauty and breathtaking scenes. It was built-in the 1980’s for the purpose of the Walt Disney production; live action, Musical feature film Popeye, starring the late Robin Williams.
Popeye village is in the most beautiful location of Anchor Bay, North west of the Island. It is easily reached by car or bus.
As soon as you feast your eyes on the village below, you will be captivated by its beauty. Popeye Village also known as Sweethaven Village is made up of wooden, rustic buildings.
The main street
Looking out from Nautical School
There is so much to do at Popeye village; not only do you get to walk around the old movie set but you can explore the houses, go swimming in the sea, swim in the lido, take a boat ride around the bay, watch the film in an old movie theatre, watch a documentary about how the film was filmed and even take part in live scenes with the actors out in the street.
As soon as we walked down the steep hill approaching Popeye’s house, we was greeted by Popeye himself along with Bluto and Olive Oyl.
The actors were friendly and very funny, they were a big hit with the children and really brought the whole experience alive. We watched Popeye and Bluto fight over Olive Oyl. Poor Oliver couldn’t believe his eyes when Bluto was knocked out and fell to the floor, he wasn’t moving and believed that he was dead.
As well as wandering around the old village the children had fun in the splash pool, although the water was a little cold, it didn’t stop them from jumping in and having a blast.
I can just imagine it being a little sweet haven in the heat of the summer months, being able to relax and cool off around the lido and splash pool. Also in the summer there are water trampolines and slides set up in the sea down in the bay for visitors to use.
The boys loved walking through the old wooden buildings, exploring and reading all the information. We even sat and watched some of the old film in the Popeye comic museum, whilst taking cover from the rain outside (we visited during October half term) The museum was full of memorabilia and over 200 comics on display.
Our day was nearly over but not before jumping on board the Boat for a trip around Anchor Bay, this is a must on a visit to the Village as you get to see some beautiful scenery of the village set among the cliffs and coves from the Sea.
Just next to where the boat departs, on Captain Bluto’s Platform there is a small set up of miniature golf
The very last thing that had to be done, and I can only imagine in the summer months that this would be a 100 % must, would be to swim in the bay. During the summer the bay comes alive with inflatable fun for all the family, but as it was October Jak had it all to himself.
The water was shallow but deep enough for him to swim in.
We had a fabulous day out and even though it was out of season, there was still lots for us to do and see.
If you have a holiday booked to Malta, I would strongly recommend a visit to Popeye Village to meet the Big Man himself.
Do you dread flying for the first time with your children?
Well we are the latter! Last week was our first time flying to another country as a family.
I had flown before with my eldest boy when he was 4 and last summer he flew out to Amsterdam with his agency to do some acting on stage but my two youngest have never flown before. I booked the holiday during the half term to Malta, a country that I have many contacts with and have visited a few times myself prior to having children. We were going to be travelling with Nanny and staying at my brothers apartment over there, we had an early morning flight all booked and the boys were very excited in travelling to another country via an Aeroplane.
The week prior to our departure I couldn’t sleep, I kept having nightmares and thinking if the worst outcomes that could happen to us whilst travelling
Being turned away because our passports had the wrong information on
Our names weren’t down on the roster for flying
Losing one of the children at the airport
The plane coming into bother whilst in transit
Not having a smooth flight and experiencing some turbulence
With hardly any sleep and over tired the day arrived for us to travel to Luton airport to depart for our first holiday abroad. I was so worried that an accident that may happen, I just had to keep telling myself that people fly all over the world every second of the day and the possibility of our plane come into some difficulties were very slim.
I had packed all the luggage with our clothes but I also had to think about what would keep the children entertained on the flight there
All phones and tablets fully charged with chargers in the suit case
Magazines and books to read
Colouring and drawing pencils
Favourite teddy bear or toy
Bottle of water
Any school homework that was given out
A pack of playing cards
I had also ensured that they was dressed in comfortable clothing like track suits, trainers and t-shirts. I didn’t want the children to be uncomfortable for the three hours that we was travelling, sitting down in a small tight space in clothing that would make them fidget and make them irritable.
We had all discussed prior to our flight about what to expect during flying and how they thought an aeroplane works. Joseph said that they he was a bit scared the aeroplane would drop from the sky as he doesn’t understand how it could fly with all the people in it. Oliver wanted the plane to do a loop de loop and Jak said he didn’t like it when his went pop.
As our flight was at 7:00 Am, we left our house at 4 aiming to arrive at the Airport for 5:00. I ridiculously thought that the boys would sleep in the car on the way to the airport but how wrong was I? They were overly excited and hyped up with adrenaline, looking forward to their little adventure they were about to embark on. By the time we had checked in and in the queue ready to board the plane the boys were going mental with excitement, I could just about control them from flying up in the air by themselves. They were winding other passengers up by being slightly too loud and running around their legs, I was really not looking forward to the flight. We found our seats and made our selves comfortable, as the seatbelt light went on and the plane began to move into position, the picture on my boys faces were priceless, they were ecstatic! Their eyes were lit up and alive with excitement, their facial expression with a constant smiled etched on and their little bodies shaking with anticipation.
They took plenty of photos of their first experience, not of each other but of the view from the window seat
Their excitement didn’t wear off until probably on the flight home, where none of the boys were too interested in sitting by the window and all they wanted to do was sleep.
Their first flight will always be a very special memory for all of us.
Here’s to our next flight abroad, It wasn’t too bad after all! 🙂
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