So today (even though our entry to and exit from the island was closed for a matter of hours, and there were water shuttles ferrying people backwards and forwards to the mainland during this time anyway), Mr Sunshine and I decided to stay put and spend a full 24 hours making the most of the 400 hectares of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities that we have right here on our doorstep.
I'm glad we did, because it was one of the best Saturdays we have spent as a family for a long time.
7:45am: Wake up to Sophia clambering from her Chicco Next2Me into our bed, climbing on top of me and dribbling on my face. Place her in between Mr Sunshine and me, and try to get a bit more shut eye until she becomes too wriggly and I'm forced to get up.
9:00am: Mr Sunshine tidies up the apartment while I take a 'turbo shower' (one which lasts no more than the 3 minutes it takes for Sophia to realise that she's playing with her toys alone and starts crawling to find us), and then we all sit round the dining table for our pre-breakfast, Mr S and I with a cup of tea and Sophia with some lumps of banana and blueberries (nearly all of which end up on the floor).
10:00am: After cleaning Sophia up, packing our bags, leaving the house, remembering we've forgotten at least five vital items, going back to the apartment, misplacing the keys, unpacking and repacking the bags again, finding the keys and eventually getting back outside, we head to our favourite place on The Pearl for breakfast: Eggspectation.
11:30am: Sophia falls asleep in her pushchair so we enjoy a bit of adult time by...ahem, wandering through Megapolis and playing on a couple of the arcades, before grabbing an icecream at Camille's.
12:00pm: As we wander back towards home, we have the usual
2:00pm: Leave Megu feeling like we could probably never eat another morsel, torment myself by popping into Elie Saab to have another look at a dress I am lusting over but will never be able to afford and then head home for what we hope will be a full family food-induced nap, which really turns into Sophia clambering all over us in bed for the second time that day.
2:45pm: Leave the house once more and take one of the golf buggies by Tower Eleven into pretty Qanat Quartier.
3:00pm: Grab two fresh coconuts from Evergreen Organics and discuss how drinking coconut water definitely cancels out the double portions of eggs and pancakes we had for breakfast.
3:30pm: Arrive at Qanat Quartier beach. Spend half the time trying to prevent Sophia from putting fistfuls of sand into her mouth and half the time laughing at her delighted face as we splash in the sea. Watch the sun set over the pastel houses.
5:00pm: Slowly amble home while Sophia sleeps in the baby carrier.
6:00pm: I start Sophia's bed time routine while Mr Sunshine orders takeaway from Dean & David. We reason that when you have a day filled with as much food as we've had, you might as well continue as you started.
7:45pm: Finally collapse on the sofa with two (slightly cold) green curries. Consider putting a film on but our eyelids are already beginning to droop.
8:30pm: Step out onto the balcony and look at the view before us. Think about how lucky we are to live where we do.
9:10pm: Go to check on the baby and trip over a stray hair dryer en-route to her cot, making a terrible racket in the process and waking her up. Curse under my breath. Instantly forget all feelings of peace and goodwill. Tell Mr Sunshine that it's his turn, and head to my laptop to reply to some emails.
10:15pm: Return to the bedroom to find Sophia on Mr Sunshine's chest on the edge of the bed and both of them fast asleep. Try to take a few photos without the flash on, but eventually give up and climb in next to them, taking advantage of having a full three quarters of the bed in which to starfish. Remember that feeling I had on the balcony earlier this evening. It's good to be home.