Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever

Royal wedding fever even reached portugal and in a big way. All last week there were various programmes covering the big day. On monday, i saw a 'morning tv' show, where they were doing a slot called 'princess for a day' where a viewer got to be madeover and treated like a princess. I was really surprised that there was so much attention here. At the time of the wedding, there was no less than 4 channels covering the ceremony and various others showing clips. THe power of a 'royal wedding' always amazes me. My husband is always complaining at the 'tax payers' cost, which is a fair but on the other hand, the money spent on the merchandising of the comemarative items, tourism income, income for tv channels and so it goes on, money will be made, lots of it.

But a point which many people made was that it was a worldwide shared happy event, at a time when a little happiness is very much needed.

I wish them all the luck in the world and hope they have a long and happy marriage.

"Be what God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire" - Catherine de Siena

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Portuguese health service

Now, this is a common topic for ex-pats and the opinions vary wildly. We

have been here nearly 3 years and we signed up for the health service back in december 08, when I was pregnant with Grace. At first, it wasnt easy, we had trouble signing up but that was to do with mis-training of the admin staff. Here in the algarve they do not normally assign a doctor (you see whoever is available) as there is a shortage of doctors in the algarve. But after speaking to the right people, we got signed up and assigned our own doctor and they have been great. The doctor has his own nurse and she deals with the children and maternity, alongside the doctor. The doctor deals with all adult problems. But we can not fault the service we have here in Tavira and also at Faro hospital. Sometimes, if you dont have an appointment, the wait can be long but nothing different to what you get in england. I think that being in the east algarve helps as it is less populated and im sure the long waits and lack of doctors really affect the west side more.

Recently, I had to go to the doctor, for the first time, apart from maternity. Normally, Joao my husband comes with me and its like old friends, as I dont not speak much portuguese (tisk, tisk) but this time he couldnt. I was quite nervous about going alone as my doctor does not speak english, but I have been twice now and he has been really good. I have had a persistent cough for over two months, they thought it was TB, but after some tests,that was negative, thank god! But they still dont know why I am coughing, but instead of giving me some medicine and sending me away, he is doing tests and trying to find out why I am coughing. I cannot fault this health service, at least my medical centre, all the staff are friendly and nice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter weekend


Hope everyone had a good easter break. My husband runs a hotel on 'the strip' of Albufeira (if anyone knows it) and we spent the weekend there as he was working some of it, well most of it. The weather had been rubbish all last week, raining and windy, I felt sorry for those who came for their easter hols only to have this weather.

But on easter sunday, the weather opened, at least for the morning and everyone was at the pool in their swimwear, some kids even went in the pool. And then there's me, in jeans, shoes and a cardigan, walking past all these people lying in the sun, smelling of sun lotion. It was a strange sensation, and shows me, I really have acclimatised to this climate here in south portugal, if I ever return to england I may die of cold!! dont think I know what real cold is anymore, anything less than 24 degrees is cool to me now.

The other thing I experienced was 'food factories'. I love going out to eat, it is my 'luxury, hobby, love' whatever you want to call it, not that I have loads of money to do it very often. But this weekend, we went out twice, a lot for us. Both restaurants were very popular and busy, the first restaurant had a very 'family feel' and was bright and comfortable, the staff attentive, but the food was only ok. The second experience, the restaurant was a bit crowded and service was a little slow and the food again was mediocre, but Im sure they are not too worried because even if a customer goes away not having their expectations met, as ours were not, there are another thousand customers behind us, hence the 'food factory' label. I will not go back to those restaurants as they are not value for money for me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Goodness me, I didnt realise it had been so long since my last post. Time goes so fast and things have been a bit strange lately,but hopefully coming out of that.

What have I been doing? Well on the weekends spending time with my family (all of them) and also I havent been well, both mentally and physically, if one is affecting the other, not sure.

But Im back!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tots to Travel

Tots to Travel is multi-award winning family travel company. They specialise in family-friendly self-catering accommodation with all the equipment you need. All properties are vetted for child safety and suitability.

On the other side, Tots agents are trained to provide advice and support to home owners on how to market their property more effectively, therefore increasing their bookings and profits.

Wendy Shand started Tots to Travel in 2005, after on a 'family' holiday her two year old son fell into an unenclosed swimming pool. She realised their was a vital need for a service that offered safe, genuinely family friendly holiday accommodation. The company has gone from strength to strength and is growing at a high rate, this year they look to turnover £1 million. Not to mention the array of awards and nominations and almost constant coverage in the media.

Tots to Travel started with properties in France, nowadays the business has expanded into Spain, Italy, Portugal and the UK.

So if you are looking for a truly family-friendly holiday with all the equipment you need, look no further. If on the other hand you are a homeowner looking to enter into this growing, lucrative market, they can help you.

Wendy Shand has also written a book, 'Empty Weeks: How to get more bookings and make money from your holiday home'. She has a limited number of FREE copies, go to to get yours while stocks last.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The parenting maze

Sometimes I feel like I am lost in the 'parenting maze', the multitude of decisions we make daily about our children's upbringing, trying to do the right thing, not repeat our parents mistakes and screw our children up in later life. We are bombarded, especially as several noted, around Mothers Day, with all this speculation and opinion about what is best for our children. To be a good parent is hard, especially harder I think if you are the primary caregiver while your other half spends most time working.

For me, I am not what you would call a 'natural mother', it is not something that is built into my character and I adore my children and would not be without them, but I have to work at it. Lately with my 5 year old, now being so much more aware and starting to copy and repeat our behaviours, it makes me think much more how I look to them. My parents, were not the best parents, for several reasons that I wont divulge here, but they werent the worst and I turned out pretty well I think. So I look at how I was raised and the way my parents chose to 'teach' me and I try and use some of those methods, but the view of parenting has changed vastly in the last 30 years. Nowadays, you have Supernanny and naughty steps and psychologists and experts giving you different advice, it's a maze! I try and praise my children where I can, give more positive than negative but sometimes that is hard when they are playing up and there is more negative than positive. My children are pretty good, but sometimes I look at their behaviour and think, 'I never would have done that' and I start to question my parenting, what am I doing wrong? Why do they behave that way, how can I change this behaviour and sometimes I just really dont know. Should I buy some parenting books?....but which ones, should I ask someone? I think I was brought up fairly authoritarian, and knew if I did wrong what the consequences would be. I want to give my children strong and clear boundaries, but as hard as I seem to try it doesnt always work and sometimes I find myself turning into some out of control mother, and although I know they really wont respond to that, I cant seem to help myself.

I was reading an article the other day about different parenting techniques and in particular why yelling doesnt work. But something I read in this article and others seems to say that we shouldn't punish our children or tell them off but instead praise them. That all well and good and I agree that children should be praised, negativity will not work but there has to be balance, like anything in this life. If a child does something wrong this should be noted and identified to them, in a constructive way. But I read things like this and it only makes me question more, who is right? Will the supernanny generation be any better than us? Also how much influence do we really have on our children's behaviour?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all you hard-working, caring, tired mums out there. Hope you got lots of lovely surprises, and plenty of kisses and cuddles.

Me. I got nothing, but to be fair it is not Mothers Day here in portugal, sure I will be spoiled when the time comes.

Have a good one!