It’s been 100 hours since we landed in Singapore after a flight that felt like it lasted 100 hours. It was actually only 17 hours, but that’s quite long enough for a solo parent with two little one’s on their first flight ever. So to keep things short and sweet here’s what I’ve learned so far….
- Manchester Terminal 2 is THE place to fly from with kids. I’m talking a soft play area (airside) with a Café Nero conveniently right next to it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all great by any stretch of the imagination- the trolleys will cost you a non-refundable £1, security is fraught with narrow lanes and barriers kids can duck under, getting through the barriers to get to security with two kids who each have a Trunki is abit like playing sensor roulette, and the only toilet cubicle I could find large enough to contain all three of us plus hand luggage was the disabled toilet. HOWEVER, all of this pre-flight fatigue faded away as soon as we turned right as you come out of duty free (another minefield to navigate where the shop assistants distract you by spraying perfume in your face whilst your kid snaffles a giant bag of Haribo and heads for the exit). It was like a beacon of hope at the far end of the terminal, the brightly coloured hues of a germ breeding ground accompanied by the reviving smell of heavy duty caffeine. There is a chance that if I need to go somewhere with the kids in future, it will only ever be from here.
- Singapore Airlines really are as good as everyone says. Having never attempted air travel with the kiddies before I was hesitant to say the least, and my heart sank somewhat as we boarded and there only appeared to be one other little traveller. The pressure was on. The flight staff all came and introduced themselves to the kiddies, showed them how to set up games and kids tv, made sure they were plied with appropriate drinks and snacks throughout, didn’t bat an eyelid at the number of times my children decided they needed the toilet, and then like true heroines came off the plane with me and made sure we got a trolley (for free) and were escorted to immigration. Maybe they could tell I was losing the will to live after being trapped in between my offspring for a solid 17 hours. Maybe they were rewarding me for having two well behaved children on their flight. Or maybe they just realised with a sleeping three year old on my shoulder, an excited four year old to hold onto and the damn Trunki’s still to drag along I really did need an extra pair of hands to get off the plane. It was probably that to be fair. Anyway, big thanks to Singapore Airlines, and I look forward to flying with you again at Christmas!
- Jetlag is hell with kids, and they pick up on the subtle suggestion that jet lag = it’s ok to stay up late/all night and watch tonnes of cartoons on Netflix. The only other thing I can possibly add is that some travel sickness and hay fever medication can be used as a mild sedative (read the small print of your pharmaceutical products of choice). You’re welcome.
- Singapore is everything everyone told me it would be – busy, clean, efficient, friendly and HOT. The children have been in a sticky pink state ever since we arrived. They might acclimatise (they will), but on the off chance they don’t (they will) they’re living in the pool. No really, wrinkly fingers and toes are no longer a sign to get out. But like I said, they will acclimatise, and then they can start pre-school.
- Shopping here is not a good idea when you’ve just arrived. Basically, you can’t buy fake tan anywhere (I got laughed at when I enquired and handed a tub of whitening cream), so instead I’m maximising on the kiddie pool sessions. Albeit with factor 50 on, because you struggle to get anything less. Clothes shopping wasn’t any more successful, I popped out to ION Orchard to pick up some shorts but was left somewhat shocked that my favourite of high street stores in the UK (Zara) is currently stocked with AW 2016. For all those chilly European winters Singapore is famed for, of course. And then, to make it worse, I wandered into H&M to pick up some cheap and cheerful shorts only to find myself having to reach to the back of the rail for anything close to my size, and so now I’m wandering around Singapore with some incredibly short size 8’s covering what feels like only half my ass. I didn’t try to buy shoes, but I fear my freak feet (size EU 40) will leave me feeling like a clown. So shopping may have to wait until another day.
It’s safe to say it’s been a crazy 100 hours, but already (short shorts aside) I get the feeling that we’re all going to love it here.