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.