Debbie Rae Does ...The Realities of an Ibizan hangover


Wherever you are in the world, when you’ve had next to no sleep, kids are not easy, but don’t worry if you’ve just welcomed a little bundle of joy; Your partying days may not all be behind you. Parents are used to surviving on no sleep, sometimes for years at a time. Personally, after being a stay-at-home Mum for five years, I feel like I’ve had hardcore training for pulling Ibiza all-nighters. This is what all the nappy changing, 2 hourly feeds, up at 5 a.m. has all been about! Priming our bodies for this very type of holiday.


Things are a bit different this year on the Island due to covid. Official clubs are currently held to a 1 a.m. curfew, but as we’ve found, private villa parties, raves in out-of-town hangers, and hidden beaches are keeping the Ibiza party vibe well and truly alive! I’m confident the Island will be back to normal by next year, so this article pulls on my experiences from my last visit and this.


All so I can give you the truth of surviving an Ibiza hangover, with kids on your case. Of course, you could take things easy, slip away and into bed early, maybe keep the alcohol to a minimum, but if your ticket for the club has cost over 100 euros, trust me, you’re not going home till the fat bouncer sings. I had momentarily considered staying sober; if you love the music and your company, who needs to be wasted, I hear you say. I wish I could agree, but Ibiza without alcohol is like, well, gin without tonic.



Firstly, it’s only fair I recognise that the blame for my painful hangovers cannot be placed solely at the feet of my early rising children. I’m 40 and feeling the aches and pains more than I once did, but with these comes an infantile desire to keep going. Like a pensioner in residential care, who perseveres with daily sudoku to keep their brains active, I need to keep squeezing myself into those tiny dresses and embarrassing myself on the dance floor. I’m not ready to give up my grip on my 20’s just yet.



From my diligent research, I have discovered that a hangover in Ibiza is a different beast from the one that stalks you in the UK. Sure, waking up to blinding sunlight and 30-degree dry heat parching your mouth and complexion is no walk in the park. Still, drinks are expensive in Ibiza (I set myself back 20 euros for a glass of wine in Ushuaia), so I usually have far more soft drinks on a night out than I would in the UK. Hydration is a saviour!





Secondly, I have a pool in Ibiza. The journey there, staggering like a zombie being pecked at by vultures; ‘Mum I want Cheerios’, ‘Mummy, why’s Daddy sleeping upside down in bed’, ‘Mummy why does your hair smell smoky?’ that’s not great. But once I dive/flop into the cooling water, my senses spring to life, tingling with the abrupt wake-up, the cool, the music from the night before.


As I hide beneath the surface, it’s as if I’m in a meditative state. As opposed to the shit state I’m generally in back home in the UK. I’d like to stay there longer, but as I discovered yesterday, you can’t hide forever. I was shaken from my zen, ‘Cannonball!’ screamed my sun at an impressive volume, moments before he shattered the still of the water next to my head. In fairness, his abrupt entrance into my calm only served to wake me up further; you can hardly be cranky when you’re greeted topside with a big grin and flurries of giggles.


Thirdly, I have found that I have more in my arsenal to combat party fatigue. The OJ, made fresh from the sun-kissed groves of Ibiza slaps you with a zesty, sweet, vitamin C packed punch, strong enough to blow away the cobwebs…and if that doesn’t suit your mood, you are never far from a café offering a full English breakfast.



Fourthly, if you are brave enough to venture out of your villa to wander the alleys of the old town, you will find kindred spirits everywhere. When you rub the mascara from beneath your darkened eyes before hurriedly replacing your sunglasses, you’ll be greeted by knowing nods and wry smiles. Not Betty from the grocery store shaking her head in mild pity, for the children not me you must understand.



Pre-Covid, I meticulously placed gems and a tsunami of glitter across my chest for a night in Pacha. On the beach, the following morning, I found them running in sweat across my wine bloated tummy and collecting in my belly button while my children delighted in burying my feet. Rather than being met with looks of disapproval from my fellow sun worshippers, a smattering of hungover parents followed suit, lying back like beached red whales while their offspring set about burying them alive. I must have brought 6 families an hour of peace that day. I felt like Supernanny!


When all else fails, remember it is acceptable to drink in Ibiza, a rule I’ve also found that applies to Cabo and Las Vagas, at 10 a.m. A holiday habit that doesn’t translate well to the UK. Downing a Sex On The Beach from your reusable Starbucks cup on the way back from the school run is a problem, not a triumph, my friends. Not judging, just saying, and this is made a lot easier as I am blessed to never be alone in the villa. My husband and I are sharing this year with our two friends and their two children. We navigate a hit and miss tag-team rota for limping through mornings after the night before. One bedraggled pitifully outnumbered parent caring for the little monsters for 1-2 hours before swapping with another. So far, no one has choked, drowned, or killed each other, and the kids actually seem to enjoy running rings around us while the others catch up on naps by the pool or blissfully tuck up in bed.

In short, partying and caring for the kids is undoubtedly possible, with a bit of backup; but at my age, athletes need to hold back. I wouldn’t want to injure myself. So tonight, it will be a BBQ on the patio, watching the beautiful sunset with my family and closest friends, dancing with my little girl around the pool instead of the podium dancers of Ushuaia. Because one thing I realised this year is that not everything fabulous in life or in Ibiza is found inside a club.

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