Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home Comforts

I have this thing, that Im not good in other people's houses and am even worse with people in my house.  I wasnt so bad when I was younger but now I have children, I find it difficult to be away from home and crave my comfort zone.  Im sure that is all is it, the familiarity of my own space, but when you have children that get up before 7am, and dont have their own things and all that goes with that, it makes it difficult.

I am a terrible host, terrible, I just dont know how to have people in my house, but its not that I dont like having people, I just dont know what to do, which I think comes from my childhood when we didnt have many visitors so it was something I was not used to and never really learned how to do.  Some may say, it's not something which needs to be learned but it is, you have to know how to be with people in your space, how to be a host, just as you learn any other social skill.

We are currently staying with my sister-in-law, who so kindly offered her house to us over the Christmas period, but I am always worried that Im not helping enough or getting in her way (but Im sure she would say something), but aside of all this, I find it hard to be away from home.  I am a complete homebody these days and could probably be a hermit given a chance!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Source: digitalart
Wishing all my lovely readers a very happy Christmas.  
Thank you for all your support and comments and for following me.  It has been lovely to get to know some of you a bit more, and thank you for sharing your world with me.
I know several of you have had a hard year, and I truly wish and hope for a better one in 2012 for us all.

Feliz Natal a todos

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas fail

Goodness me, this week has flown.  And been so busy I havent had time to blog!  And now we are 9 days from the big day and I have done so little.  Every year I have all these plans and this year, after a christmas to forget last year, I had even more plans of things to make, presents etc, but now I find myself with nine days to go, and have done none of it, big christmas fail!!  Only yesterday I sent off my christmas cards and the silly thing was I was thinking about doing them at the beginning of December but thought it was too early, must learn it is never too early when talking about Christmas.  Also when Christmas falls on a sunday or monday I think you lose a couple of days, especially with posting things.  So now I have about a week left and all my shopping to do, work  to finish and all the other prep but as we are spending Christmas with my husband's family I dont have too much food prep to do.  Oh well, better get cracking, not all is lost yet, its going to be a busy week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Gallery: My Awesome Photo

This week's theme on The Gallery is 'My Awesome Photo'

For those of you who are familiar with my blog, you will know I quite like photography and my camera but wish I was better at it and would love to have some training to help me improve.  Quite often I find I see something amazing/lovely/spectacular that would be a great photo but often it turns out to be a disappointment. In this case, it was the reverse and turned out really well and is one of my favourite photo and I think its pretty good, if I say so myself.  It has lovely contrast and I love the old, traditional houses and cockle pickers in the background, giving a real 'authentic' feel.

I hope you like it, come and see the other entries on this week's Gallery

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tavira Beaches: part 2

At the start of the summer, I set out to visit all the Tavira beaches as part of my Summer mission.

Well I did manage to visit all apart from one, Fabrica as I really didnt want to take the chance of wadding through although mostly shallow water with all my gear and two children.  And not being familiar with that beach, the possibility of later getting stuck trying to come back.  So that will be resigned to an 'adult or older children beach'.  Maybe next year I will get over there.

Otherwise I tried all the others and found a new one as well, Praia da Lota, which is found at the east end of Manta Rota, so basically go to Manta Rota and follow the signs to the east end of the town.  This is a more 'locals' beach, parking is quite small but the beach is not as busy as the others and quite flat and shallow, making it good with children.  There is also a couple of simple beach restaurants.

Ilha Cabanas, accessed by a small boat from the eastern end of Cabanas, parking can be a nightmare in high season and the wait for the boat can be long.  Also being an Island beach can often be rough.  But the beach is long and nice.

Ilha Tavira is a beautiful place, when you get off the boat, you walk a few hundred metres through the island shubbery and could forget where you were.  There are several restaurants and bars and a large campsite, practically on the beach, which must be lovely in summer.  The beach goes for miles and is very deep, if you walk far enough you could be on your own, even in high season.  In high season you can access the Island by large boats from Tavira town centre or Quatro Aguas or private water taxi, which takes about 10 minutes.  I first went here on my 30th birthday and had the best day.  Again being a island beach can be rough.

Praia Barril another island beach, one of my favourites where you take a little train over to the beach area, which the children love.  A very popular and large beach with good facilities but best to be avoided in high season as although there is a lot of parking, it can still be a nightmare, leaving you to walk over a mile to get to the train. Out of season it is perfect and quiet.

Praia Verde on a July morning

Praia Verde is the easterly of all the beaches and is not an island beach.  It is set down a fairly large hill but parking is quite good and there are restaurants at the top and bottom of the hill.  It is quite a shallow beach, making it calmer than the Island beaches.  Its a good one, with the calm waters but the walk back up is hard with a pushchair or young child.

Manta Rota was always my favourite beach but my reason for wanting to try the others was to find something different or better, but I have to say, I didnt.  Manta Rota still remains my favourite, but WHY?
When going to the beach in the Algarve heat with two small children, my aim is to get there as quick as possible with the least amount of fuss and difficulty and Manta Rota is perfect for that.  It is the nearest beach to my house where I can drive to without the hassle of boats, trains or queues.  The water is generally calmer than the Island beaches.  They renovated the area within the last four years, so the access is really good, and it is only a short walk on a boardwalk to get to the beach.  There is only one downside, in the summer they charge parking, but otherwise for me, its perfect.  I tried the others, but for me this is the best!  It does get busy in the summer but with such easy access its not a problem.

So if you're down in the East Algarve, give it a try.

Manta Rota in November, with fishermen on the beach and Monte Gordo in the distance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Christmas Wishes

This week's Britmums blog post is very apt for this time, asking what are my Christmas Wishes.

Well there are many things I want and NEED, such as a watch, a new mobile phone, although I am halfway there with my husband's old one as he got a new one recently.  So now I have a 3 yr old phone instead of 6 (dinosaur stylee, but it works more importantly)!

But there are two things I always want for Christmas, and it probably sounds corny but believe me is true.  I want a reasonably secure financial / job situation and my children to be happy.  Anything else I can go without, but my kids, nothing else matters to me.  I have had plenty of Christmases, but children got so much more out of it and I get joy by seeing them be happy, what more could I want.

Times are tough and presents will be few, so to give them more, I am happy to go without.  My sister in law called my husband yesterday to say, 'let's buy only for the kids' and I completely agree.  Money is tight, but to give them a happy Christmas and to be together is far more important than any watch or perfume or other stuff which is nice but you dont really want or need.

I always try to remember how lucky I am at this time to have a family who I love, to be with, food on the table and a roof over my head.  Not everyone is so lucky, people sleeping in the cold, children in developed countries who dont get ANYTHING at this time, should not be forgotten.  And of course, we should remember why Christmas is here, not because of Hallmark.  Im not particularly religious and each to their own, but it should not be forgotten.

I try to bring my children up to be happy and appreciative for what they have, not always easy when surrounded by consumerism and they are still quite young, but its important I think.  Things are not easy in these times, and Im almost sure my Christmas wish of a healthy bank account, will not magically appear, but one thing that will is my children's happiness on that day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What Portugal means to me?

For those of you who dont know, although its fairly obvious from the title of my blog, I live in Portugal, in the Algarve on the eastern side not far from the Spanish border, near a town called Tavira.  And I was thinking the other day about what Portugal means to me, apart from being my adopted home and my husband's home country! So here it is:

P is for Porto, a beautiful city full of culture and history! You must go there if you can, but bring good walking shoes for the hills!

O is for the Orange groves and yineyards that cover the Algarve!

R is for too much Red tape, beauracracy here is mind-boggling and Im sure developed to confuse and put-off!

T is for time and the slower pace of life here, which takes some time to adjust to, after 3 years, Im still not used to it completely!

U is for Unbelievably bad drivers, they are terrible drivers, no signals, aggressive driving, dont look before pulling out, overtaking on a blindspot to name a few of the stupid and dangerous things they do!

G is for great weather, goes without saying really!

A is for The Algarve, with its miles of beautiful beaches and rolling hills behind! And all the other bits that make it great

L is for language, Portuguese has to be the most difficult language to learn, if not at least one of the top 3!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Gallery: Something I am proud of!

This week's theme on the Gallery is Something I am proud of

Without a doubt, the thing I am most proud of is my beautiful girls!  Being a parent isnt an easy thing and it's hard work at times, but when they are growing up well, you cant help but be proud.  They are and Im sure will always be my greatest achievement.

Come and see the other entries in this week's Gallery

Friday, November 18, 2011

The sadness of Christmas shopping

Christmas is a time for me which comes and goes in popularity, all depending on what situation my life is in, as is probably the same for most people.  Last year Christmas was not an enjoyable time and something I could have happily slept through, but having children always makes it better to see their excitement of the day!  This year, Christmas will be better I think and I am more positive and excited about it, even though I wont be where I would like to be, it will still be good for us and the children.

So I am starting to think about presents, especially for my children and although haven't made any decisions, obviously this is the time for pricing things up in order to make a final decision before purchasing chosen gifts.  I was walking through my local shopping centre, here in Tavira and looking around.  Now, for one you will never have the same amount of choice as I would back home but what made me sad was, that probably I will not purchase any gifts there or very few at most, purely for the reason that the prices are too high, in comparison to what I will pay on an UK site such as Amazon.  For instance, looking at the DVD of Tangled, which my daughters love, here is €20 or amazon £8!  What are you going to do?  I really want to support the portuguese economy, but in this case its a 'no brainer'.  In these tough financial times, I, like everyone else will be seeking out a bargain and to make the choice to buy one or several gifts for my children, there is no decision.

So my Christmas shopping will probably be done with no human contact, no going through the shops, it almost takes away the fun of it.  Christmas shopping here in Portugal is never the scrum that it is in England, although the amount the Portuguese spend in these next few weeks is astounding, even in a crise!

I also dont understand how the 'average' portuguese wage person can afford to buy gifts at what are to me, high prices.  I have another choice, buying from a UK site, but most of them dont.  I understand that they isnt the same 'competitiveness' or level of buying power, but there must be a better way.  I just find all a little sad.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time to give Thanks

This week's Britmums Blog prompt is about giving Thanks, very appropriate for this time of year as the US and Canada celebrate their respecitive Thanksgiving days and as times are tough for many, sometimes we can lose sight of the good things in our lives, I am guilty of doing this too often.

It is a good thing to make you focus on what is positive, instead of always seeing the bad or 'grey'.

I am most thankful for my family, they are my life and I wouldnt be anything without them.  They are my strength,  my pride and joy.  They are my companions in life, my friends and my motivation.  My husband is my rock and we support each other, without that I would fall.

I am thankful we have supportive family and although not nearby are always there, thinking and hoping for us.

Last year was a very difficult time and we were very lucky to a few people without whose support I dont know where we would be, they shall remain nameless but they know who they are, I will be forever grateful for them.

I am so grateful for our health, so so important, because without that life could be so much harder.

Im thankful, my kids are happy and safe and live in a free country, where they have access to schools and doctors and are allowed to be children!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Gallery: 11.11.11

The theme on this week's Gallery is 11.11.11

Here in Portugal on the 11.11.11 is Sao Martinho Day, where traditional you eat roasted chestnuts and drink a special kind of wine called Jeropiga or Agua de Pe (foot water).  
We went to our local bar and had our chestnuts, but not the jeropiga, which was home made and did smell of feet!! so we passed on that.

Also being a huge jackpot, we had to play the lotto.  Unfortunately we did not win, oh well, always next time!

Come and see the others in The Gallery

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 questions!

I have been tagged by the lovely Emma over at A Matter of Choice, one of my favourite expat mummy bloggers!

1) Describe yourself in 7 words?  Shy, idealistic, caring, procrastinator, mum, loyal, easy-going.

2) What keeps you awake at night?  Not a lot, Im a very fast sleeper, pillow meets head gone, but if I do wake and start thinking about things that's it, Im awake!

3) If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?  A world class photographer like Peter Lik, because I love his work, which I found while travelling in Australia and I love photography and would love to be better at it.  

4) What are you wearing right now?  Jeans and long sleeve top, on the verge of putting my fleece on, but not quite cold enough right now. 

5) What scares you?  Worries about my children and their future, my finances and the future 

6) What is the best and worst about blogging?  The best thing is connecting with people you otherwise would not have 'met', having an outlet and leaving a record for my children of their childhood years.  The worst thing is worrying about how people will take your posts and deleting or not posting for fear of recrimination and occasionally getting overwhelmed with stats and pressure to write a certain amount.  

7) What was the last website you looked at?  My gmail account as Im waiting for an important email!

8) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  Be more confident, I hate how unconfident and shy I feel at the moment.

9) Slankets - Yes or No (this divides the blogging world ;-)  Sorry Im still out on this one, not sure.

10) Tell us something about the person who tagged you?  Emma like myself moved her and her young family to another country for a better life, where she doesnt speak the native language, something she struggles with as I do.  Her favourite meal is a juicy steak with blue cheese sauce!

The rules.....
Answer 10 questions, tag someone to do the same.  Then come back to the original post by Super Amazing Mum and leave a comment.

Im going to tag, Jenny at Cheetahs in my Shoes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sao Martinho Day

Here in Portugal today, 11.11.11 is Sao Martinho Day or St Martins Day is celebrated by various countries.

Source: Sonitus Sanctus
St Martin was born in Hungary in 316, his father was an officer in the Roman Army.  When St Martin was 12 he became a Christian, angering his father who put him in the Roman Army.  There is a story that during his time in the army, he took his cloak, cut it in half to give to a beggar lying the cold.  That night he dreamt of Jesus wearing the cloak and telling the angels, 'here is Martin, he is not baptized and he gave his cloak'.  He later became a monk.

St Martin's Day is celebrated all over Europe and through South America.  The tradition is that it is a feasting time, before the fast for 'Advent' and marks the end of harvesting time and the start of winter.

In Portugal, Sao Martinho's Day is associated with the maturation of the season's wine and the first day of tasting the new wine.  It is commonly marked by roasting chestnuts and drinking 'Jeropiga'.

Personally I do not like Chestnuts but might partake of a glass of 'Jeropiga' in honour of Sao Martinho.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spinning compass

Lately I have been feeling lost, disorientated, confused like a spinning compass.  I feel like life is stalling and Im not sure how to kick-start it.  I have lost my bearings, hence the spinning compass and dont know which way to go.  I have plenty of ideas, yet am scared to take a step and even more scared of failure, or worse that I dont have what it takes in me to do it.  I am a bit of a dreamer, and everything seems possible, but going from a dream to reality leaves me stranded.  It is paralizing and damn frustrating, and I wonder how I got here, especially having lost my compass!

Another cryptic one for you, while I search for my compass and my way! And why am I up so early

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Goodbye Summer 2011!

It may seem a little late to be saying goodbye to summer, but here in the Algarve, the summer has really only just finished a couple of weeks ago.  Until the last week of October we were having glorious weather, still in skirts and t-shirts.  Now, we are full into trousers and jumpers!!

We had a good summer, one of the best, although a quarter of the family was missing! It was a quiet summer, but we found some new places, new beaches and took lots of photos.

For me, this photo is 'the' photo of this summer.  A beautiful sunny day and we were exploring and my girls are happy and beautiful.  This photo encapsulates our summer.

This summer I set myself a mission, and I can say I achieved most of what I wanted to do.  We definately visited more beaches, more often. 

Now the winter is coming, lets see what this brings.   

Coming up: Follow up to Tavira Beaches

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being a memory maker

As a parent one of the things we give our children are memories, these memories can have a big impact on the future of that child when they become a grown-up and can help shape the person they become and also the parent they become.  This is a very important thing for me as a parent, wanting to give my children good memories of their childhood that they will look back on fondly.

My childhood was ok, it had its events and its moments, my parents give me a good upbringing but now the landscape of parenting has changed and a parents role is different, parenting has different expectations than it did when my parents were doing it.

My parents were good parents, but there were some things I feel lacked that I want to give my children, through no fault of theirs, just different generation and a different way of doing things.  The things we do with our children create the memory of us to them for the rest of their life, it is not something to take lightly and should be considered as is every action as a parent.  We are 'memory makers' everyday and with almost any action.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's going on?

Well I have had a surprising week in both a good and bad way, the week has not turned out what I expected when I woke up last Monday and it has affected my current path and my routine.  Im trying to get my head straight again and move forward but I have to admit Im a little scared and I know I shouldnt be.  I have not been in the mind to blog this week, hence my disapperance for almost a week!  All this sounds quite criptic and I dont want to discuss details rather feelings and the foginess in my head which is slowly clearing day by day.  All will proceed but in what direction I do not know at this time.  In a positive way I pray.  I hate the ups and downs and lack of stability and direction that these times bring for many.  But it is something we must deal with......only problem is, Im not very good at that!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Gallery: Faces

This week's theme on the The Gallery is Faces

I found these two pictures of my eldest daughter from different times, of my two children she pulls the funniest faces, or at least the ones that stay long enough for me to catch a photograph of.  She loves to sing and if you point a camera at her, she will pose, like a rock star, like a princess or a dancer!  She is quite a shy child but point a camera at her and she is there!

Oooh, look at me!


Come and check out the other 'faces' on the Gallery this week

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Parenting: Bringing up a mutiligual / multicultural family

This week's topic on the Expat blog hop on Tales from Windmill Fields is Parenting: Bringing up a multiligual / multicultural family

We are a British/portuguese family, now living in Portugal, one child born in England and one born in Portugal.  When we lived in England, we didnt have any plans to move to Portugal and so we decided to focus on the English rather than teach Sophie both languages, at least to start.  Having looked into various studies etc, we decided that was our best way forward to help her in her development, especially as she was quite a late speaker, adding another language would just confuse things and as I was the primary caregiver the amount of exposure to Portuguese would be minimal at best.  This of course, gave almost everyone, the idea that they could share an opinion as to our choice at the time, and if I got 50p for everytime someone had something to say about it, I would be rich now.  After a while the ears close and you nod and smile.

Anyway, things did not stay that way and we ended up moving to Portugal and now Sophie is a mulitlingual child, no problem, so people can stop fussing and worrying.  Grace will also be multilingual and is slowly picking up both languages, which is probably a bit confusing as most of the new vocabulary is coming from me at the moment with my husband working away.  Im sure she doesnt have a clue what language she is speaking and frequently mixes the languages together, which is nothing unusual in our house with a mix of port-ingles being spoken frequently.

In our house the language is and always will be English, as long as I am around.  Its the biggest thing about my culture I can instil in my children as most other cultural aspects will be Portuguese.  But I have a worry and that is, I want my children's English both written and spoken to be as good as if they lived there and obviously English is taught here as a foreign language, so how do I get that level of proficiency in them, do I have to do a level of 'home-schooling' in this area or will it just come naturally?

I like the Portuguese culture, if a little 'old fashioned' at times but that's not a bad thing, as they have the best aspects I feel of the 'old fashioned'.  They are respectful to each other and elders, polite, helpful and family is centre to all.  Children are seen as delights, not 'things' that get in the way and should be seen and not heard.  Not a bad culture I think and ideals to instil in your child.  Obviously I also want some of my culture and heritage in them, but I have to say I find it difficult to know really how to do this, especially when surrounded by the portuguese culture.

I look forward to seeing how others do it, come and see at Windmill Fields

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lagos Zoo

A couple of weeks ago we visited Lagos Zoo.  It is the only 'zoo' in the Algarve and one I had wanted to visit for ages, so with the visit of a friend and her little boy we went.

It was quite a hot day and we got there by noon.  It is quite easy to find, situated out in the countryside, about 5 minutes off the motorway or probably maybe 15 minutes drive from Lagos itself.  It was pretty quiet of visitors, but it is out of season for them.

It has mostly smaller animals (ie. no giraffes or elephants etc) but has a good selection of animals and birds and a few reptiles.  It is a smallish zoo but perfect size for little ones, so they wont get tired or bored, its just right.

We really liked it, they have a couple of restaurants there, playparks, picnic areas and a petting zoo with donkeys, ponies, cows, rabbits, goats etc.  They have a lovely large enclosure with several islands which houses several types of monkeys and lemurs with pelicans in the middle!!

This is some of what we saw:

The pygmy hippo was my favourite, he was a bit of a show off, keeping jumping up and making snorting noises!  Sophie liked the lemurs and meerkats.  I would recommend it, for a great family day or half day out.

Please note, this is purely my personal experience, it is not sponsored in any way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If I could have ONE whole day to myself, I would...

Im all about link-ups this week apparently but these two have caught my eye and I couldnt pass by.

The Britmums Blogging Prompt this week is 'If I could have ONE whole day to myself I would......

I had a quick think about this and very sadly, I actually thought I dont think I would want a Whole day to myself, a break is always good, but I always find after a few hours I just dont know what to do with myself.  Im too used to being with the kids or my husband, I dont know how to occupy myself for a long period of time.  Is that a bit sad or abnormal?  So maybe rather than a whole day, I would take an evening or an afternoon and do something like go to a Spa and have a treatment or two or if I had the chance I would love to do a day's photography class.  Otherwise as much as I love my own company and having some space, Im now just too used to being around others, if Im not around others Im working!  Oh well, when the time comes that I do actually get periods of time to myself (when the kids are older) Im sure I will fill my time with other things.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fantastic Algarve Autumn

The Shell Seekers!
This summer started late both in terms of visitors and hot weather but boy has it made up for it!  We are now in mid-october and the weather is fantastic here in the Algarve.  Normally by now, the jeans and socks are on, the floor is getting cold and the duvet is back on the bed.  Not yet and although the nights are cooling, the days are still wonderfully warm.  Normally my beach season finishes at mid-september but just last week I was on the beach AND swimming.  It's lovely and definately one of the reasons I love the Algarve.

This weather is perfect for little ones, who just cannot cope with the high summer sun.  Its a great time for us as a family to get out and about and do some outdoor activities, more walking, more biking, more picnics without baking ourselves.

Half-term is approaching, so if you are looking to take a break, consider the Algarve.  Only two and a half hours flight, perfect length with children.  There is loads to do apart from the beach and pool of course!  These are my top picks:

Zoomarine ( a fantastic family day out with lots of marine animals and shows and also other animals and playparks etc.  This is my favourite.

Lagos Zoo ( I was here just a couple of weeks ago.  Really pleasant zoo with smaller animals and petting area but a good variety.  Not too big, so little ones wont get tired or bored.

Krazyworld ( a theme park / zoo for younger ones.  Again not to big or tiring but great for the family.

Boat trips and horse riding - ( with this great late season weather, take advantage of the array of boat trips, most go from Vilamoura, Albufeira or Lagos marinas.  Dolphin and whale watching are great at this time of year as well.

If this has got you thinking and dreaming of some late season sun, have a look at our range of accommodation, all set up for young families and checked by a Mum so you can relax while on holiday.  Click here for more information on our offers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today, is the International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, which aims to highlight and offer information about this situation.  In the UK, this is known as National Baby Loss Awareness Day.

Exact numbers are unknown but believed to be higher than 1 in 4 pregnancies which do not make it past 12 weeks.  Everybody knows someone who has experienced this loss, including myself.

A common problem is the lack or unsympathetic care given to mothers in this difficult time.   Mumsnet is currently running a campaign for Better Miscarriage Care, please offer your support for this important issue.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Tavira

I love Tavira, it is a beautiful place.  To me it is the jewel of the Algarve, and in times past I can imagine it was a grand place in the region, strong in the fishing industry and commerce.  Looking at the grand old family houses, now left to ruin I imagine many important and wealthy families once had their homes here.

I came here back in 2003 when we were on holiday in Vilamoura and fell in love with it.  I always wanted to come back but never imagined I would end up living here.  

Terapins in the garden fountain
Colourful fishing boats line the river

The 'beach boat' which takes the 1000s of beach lovers to Ilha da Tavira every summer.

A view of the river, with the cockle pickers in the background.

Praca da Republica (Town Square)

The old Roman bridge

Gates of the Moorish castle

An old Tavirense house

Beautiful gardens

Typical roofs of Tavira

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What kind of parent are you?

Do you ever think about what kind of parent you are?  Do you compare how you 'actual parent' compared to the idea you had of parenting before you had children or when you started.  Many of us, are not the parents we set out to be, not in a bad way, just different.  Parenting can bring out qualities in us that we never knew we had, maybe we are softer, maybe harder than we expected, but one thing is true, we all love our children (even on the tiring, difficult days) and sometimes we have to do difficult things that require something extra from us as parents.   And in these times it can make us re-examine what kind of parents we are or aspire to be.  We are not perfect parents, no-one is, as much as we try, but we are the damn best we can be.  I am in a situation where I need that  'something extra' as a parent to do something which is difficult for me, but in the best interests of my daughter in the long run.

My daughter had hip dysplasia when she was a baby, they found it on her 7 week check, but it wasnt bad but she had to wear a harness for a few weeks and then was checked regularly until she was over 2yrs old and everything seems to be corrected and going the right way.  Now she is 5 and she is a bit pigeon-toed, so we have taken her to an orthopedic doctor and her treatment is to wear orthopedic boots on a bar which holds her feet in an outward position to correct her hips, but only at night. Which basically means she wont be able to move much, turn over or curl up.

Now I know this is not the end of the world and much worse things could happen, but it's hard to see my baby in this situation and the discomfort at the beginning she will be in.  I know she will cry, she will ask me to take it off, say it hurts and all I will be able to do is offer her my 'mother's comfort' and make it as best I can and I have to be a stronger and more patient parent in these early days until things settle down and it becomes normal.

Save the children 100 words

Save the Children are running a campaign to raise awareness of the vital need for more healthworkers in the less developed world to save and protect more children and babies.

I was tagged by Tales from Windmill fields to take part and share my experience of a healthworker who made a difference in my life in 100 words.

So here is mine;

My birth with my first child was long and did not go according to plan ending in an emergency  c-section for the protection of my daughter.  Afterwards I recovered fine but the first weeks were not easy, but I was lucky enough to have a great health visitor who visited me much more than she normally would.  I appreciated this support and strongly believe this helped me not to develop PND and helped my mental health in that time.  Aftercare of mother and baby is sometimes as important as birthcare to aid the future care of the mother and baby.

Read here to find out what Save the Children are doing and how YOU can help.

I want to tag the following (if you havent already done it)

Manana Mama
Livi lou and Dude
Sarah - mum of three

Monday, October 10, 2011


This week I have decided to 'hop' with the 'Expat blog hop' over at Tales from Windmill fields, this week's topic is 'Why'.  For this I have chosen to discuss one of my biggest annoyances and misunderstanding of algarvians / portuguese and that is the habit of walking in the road, despite the presence of a pavement.  I mean, Why?  At times taking their life in their hands, walking into oncoming traffic and causing vehicles to slow down to avoid them.  Some pavements here are cobbled and can be rough, therefore I can understand if a mother has a small or sleeping baby as this could cause some discomfort, but when a normal able bodied person chooses to walk on the road with traffic instead of on a perfectly good pavement, I just dont understand!

The main roads here normally do not have pavements but a side area which is lined off for cyclists and walkers, I found this very strange when I arrived, why do the roads not have pavements, I asked my husband, who couldnt really answer me as he come from the city of Lisbon, where they do have pavements and people use them or seriously risk their lives in high volume traffic.  Maybe it is just because there is not a lot of traffic here, so people dont worry about it, maybe its because some people here can be a bit ignorant and dont care about the others, some people seem to have an air of 'the world is mine, like there is no-one else around' so they dont have to care.  But it is something I question everytime and which I dont think I will ever understand.  Even the dog's poop on the pavements and the people walk in the road, what does that say?  Trust me, not that dogs are more important, with the number of strays here.  Why?!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My biggest pet peeve

Britmums have started a weekly blog hop in which they give a prompt to answer, this helps those of us who are short on inspiration or looking to do something different.

This weeks prompt biggest pet peeve is........

Well I have two big ones, but one is soon to be obsolete or at least less of a problem but the other will remain.  My peeves are shops or public areas not designed for pushchairs and rude people.

The frustration of trying to navigate a shop or area which is clearly not big enough to manouve a pushchair, the worst are those stores which put up displays in the middle of the floor such as shoe shops.  This leaves me with the inevitable choice to leave my child alone by the door, having to carry her around or to leave the shop without the items I need.  This is a situation which always leaves me feeling frustrated and an unvalued or unconsidered customer.

My other peeve is rude people, really annoys me, manners dont cost anything.  Doesnt matter if it is that person cutting you up on the road or the person who doesnt understand 'personal space', it is just bad education and unnecessary.  A 'please and thank you' are not difficult.  But I think it is a problem which is becoming worse these days.  Less children seem to be being taught good manners, whether it is bad parenting or a sign of society.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Goodbye my friend

Last week I had an old friend come to visit, in all of 3 years, none of my friends have come to visit me in Portugal (doesnt say much for me huh) until now.  She came out for a week's holiday with her little boy who is the same age as my youngest and whom I have never met.  I have known this friend since my school days, some 17 years ago, (god, that makes me sound old) and it is the best kind of friend.  The kind who you dont speak to regularly, maybe only a few times a year, sometimes more often, other times not, someone who you dont see for years but when you see them again it is like nothing has changed and it was yesterday that you saw them.  A friend who doesnt judge or pressurise and seems to understand.

We had a lovely week, aside from the difficulties of three children, not used to being together or being in another's home for so long or having someone in their home for an extended period, brings.  Probably some more time to have 'adult conversations' would have been nice but it was good none the less.

But now she has gone, and I am left here alone again (not for much longer, the end is in sight) and it has brought me down and I just want to crawl under my duvet until it all goes away, but it wont go away as it is in me.  For a week, I had a kind of 'holiday' from the worries and it gave a welcome distraction, but now I have come crashing back to earth and it doesnt feel good.  I must get my 'game head' on and push forward but somehow it seems so difficult to pick myself up.

Tomorrow is the weekend, the weather is good, I will be fine in a couple of days.  Just need to find that positive.