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.