Posts Tagged ‘meia praia’

Boy, these summer holidays seem to be lasting forEVER! It seems like Christmas was more recent than my boys breaking up this year. My two have been off for 11 weeks already and they still have 4 left!

On the plus side, even El seems to be ready to get back to school, and anybody who knows him will know that this really is quite something! He’s missing his friends and, quite honestly, just missing something to do with his days. He’s a social kid and he needs school so much, especially the change of school. It’ll be great for him and he’s really excited about it. I honestly never thought I’d use the words “Eliot, Excited and School” in the same phrase. There ya go!

On the subject of school, I’ve just added a bit of information about school reports when moving from UK to Portugal. It’s neither gospel or exhaustive (different schools have different interpretations and levels of jobsworths, unfortunately) but it’s a very definite guide based on our and others’ experiences. If it helps someone, it’ll be worth the type up.

We’ve had a fairly uneventful summer really. Not too many visitors and pretty much just sunny weekends and working weekdays (with the occasional** obligatory trip to the Marina for a “business meeting”, of course).

Tapas at The Lighthouse on the Marina

A quick trip to Meia Praia beach

Lazing around by the local pool


Apart from back-to-school (can I get a “woohoo!”?), we do have a few other things to look forwards to too. At the beginning of October, I’m visiting my little sister in England for her birthday so that’s nice for us both! When I return from the UK, my Mum and Rod are flying back out here to Portugal for 8 days, so we’re all looking forwards to that also. Oh, and before I go, we have friends coming to the Algarve for a few weeks, so we’ll hopefully get to see them once or twice, which is always lovely.

By the time Mum and Rod go back, it’ll be mid-October! How the heck does it get to be two months until Christmas so soon? Good thing I’ve started Christmas shopping or it’d be homemade ginger cookies all round!

** in the loosest sense of the word.


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It’s taken me a while to get chance to sit down and continue this A to Z. I’m starting to think that the entire alphabet is going to last more than a year. That’s something I never could have imagined at the start! Still, it’s a nice project to be getting on with and a bit of motivation to do more than just post photos on Facebook each time we do something fun!

Anyway, I’ve had my P topic for a while. Actually, I had several ideas for my P topic but lately which one to choose has become clearer.

P is for Priorities

In order to make our move to Portugal, we had to take a good look at our priorities.

Our life in England was comfortable. We had modest income (topped up with tax credits) to allow us to be self-employed and spend some time with our boys but we constantly felt restricted. There was little around us locally that inspired us, as a family and it’s no secret that we’d had itchy feet for a long time.

A move abroad, however, would come with huge sacrifices and definitely required us to look long and hard at our priorities.

In the UK, we could live comfortably in our own home and not have any real worries about money. We had our own 3 bed home with large garden in a pretty outlying village. We had a nice, smart, modern car. We could be in full control of our own business. We could visit family and friends whenever we felt like it. We would be in as much control of our lives as is possible to guarantee in this day and age.  Despite this, we weren’t settled.

In Portugal, there is always a concern that we won’t make ends meet. We work hard to ensure that our business makes enough money to cover our basic living expenses plus a little extra but, in order to do that, we have had to significantly change the way we work. We’ve had to sub-contract out various parts of our business and rely on others working with us. This is a scary position to be in, I can tell you.

We also now live in rental accommodation, something we’ve never done before. Our housing situation is also a little out of our hands as we are constantly aware that our landlady could decide to sell, if she so wanted (fortunately, she has other, empty properties she could sell first and that’d be difficult enough in a stagnant property market!) We had also had to take in tenants in our UK house and this puts another financial strain on our household. All well and good while the tenants are in but a huge burden should they decide to move on.

We own an old banger of a car. But not a cheap car. Oh no. There is no such thing as a cheap car here in Portugal. We now own the oldest car we’ve ever owned (it’s 15 years old) which cost us the most we’ve ever paid for a vehicle!

We’re now half a day or more from family and UK friends. The boys have lost contact with many of their school friends they grew up with and we’ve all had to find new friends in a foreign land.

Life here isn’t easy, by a long shot. It’s financially unstable and, at time, emotionally draining.

However, at the same time, it is beautiful and full of new opportunities.

Ponta de Piedade

Ponta de Piedade

Despite having less money, we are surrounded by things to do.

With the beach just a few minutes walk away, we can visit all year and enjoy the ever-changing scenery it presents us.

A trip to the beach in July

Meia Praia Beach in February!

The boys have both made new friends in school and Eliot, in particular, is happy to find friends where-ever he goes. He can be bossy in TWO languages now!

Boys playing with new friends at the Skate Park, Lagos

We have made some great friends ourselves and now get to spend quality time with them too, often enjoying outdoor visits, picnics, meals and new places together.

Our newly made good pals Dave and Aly (wave, guys!)

As well as making new friends, UK family and friends visit us here which is something that never happens in England!

My little sis on one of her (many!) visits

We get to learn about and share in a new Portuguese way of life, with it traditions and festivals.

Loulé Carnival 2012

And, as the Algarve typically has few weeks of bad weather per year, for 90+% of the year, all this happens in the sun, of course!

Sunrise on Meia Praia Beach

So, yes. We’ve made sacrifices with our move to Portugal.

We’ve sacrificed income, control, our own home, a nice car, ease of communication and having family on our doorstep.

In return, we have beautiful days, fabulous places, great friends and regular visitors.

A fair trade-off? I’d say so.

It’s all about priorities, innit?

It’s a hard life but someone’s gotta do it!

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N has proved tricky. As you can probably tell by the length of time it has taken me to actually do my “N is for..” post, a suitable topic has eluded me. So, I’ve kinda cheated a bit.

N is for New Experiences

Since we moved to Portugal, nearly 2 years ago, life does feel like it’s been one long road of “firsts” for us. So much new “stuff” has happened.

New country

New town and new home

New ways of working

New schools (ha! brain thought “schools”, fingers started to write “escolas”!)

Escola EB1 Meia Praia (Eliot’s little school)

New friends

Self-taken photo at school, by Eliot!

Image courtesy of Click! Luz

New places to visit

Fontes de Estombar

Portimão Marina

National Forest of Barão de São João

Loulé Carnival

View from Silves Castle

Ponta de Piedade

New beaches to explore

Looking for fish at Praia de Castelejo

Ball games on Meia Praia in February

Christmas Eve on Praia de Batata, Lagos

New things to do

Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos

Dolphins at Zoomarine

Slide and Splash, Lagoa

Eliot scuba diving in the pool at Click! Luz kids club

Surf Lessons at Praia de Odeceixe

New language

There’s a lot to learn!

Jake doing his Portuguese homework

Eliot’s Portuguese work books

New hobbies

Baking – everything from brownies…

..to bread

New foods

Seafood platter to die for!

Meal at The Waterfront Cafe, Portimão

I guess I should stop now really, I think you get the picture?

There’s one thing for certain, life certainly hasn’t been dull since we moved to Portugal!

Long may that continue 🙂

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We’ve had some lovely weather over the past couple of days. We’ve had some pretty dodgy weather beforehand, mind you, but now that the UK tourists have gone home (kids are back at school in the UK now – ours have been back a week already here in PT!) the weather is doing as it usually does. Turning nice again!

I’m going to apologise in advance for the picture quality of all of these. Some are taken on iPhone, some on the iPad!

Nik took this photo yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, when he and Eliot rode their bikes down to the beach.

It’s a surreal-looking photo. Almost looks photo-shopped! In fact, one of Salvador Dali’s melty clocks wouldn’t look out of place there!

This morning, it was such a beautiful morning that I took a few pics from our balcony.

View from balcony, towards beach, boatyard and town

View from Balcony towards Marina and Boatyard

Eliot ended up with a day off school today. We went into school this morning only to be informed that the year 3-4 teacher was not in today or tomorrow and “see you Wednesday! Ho hum.

Oh well, Spiderman was able to take time out from his busy people-saving schedule for a bit or R’n’R and posing! (yes, we did actually walk to town with him dressed like this!)

Spiderman strikes a pose - or something (apologies for the smear on the camera lens!)

It’s been pretty windy still today so Eliot and Nik headed down to the beach for a bit of kite-flying, while the beach was empty!

Eliot flies his kite on the empty beach

It’s at that time of year when everything looks beautiful in the sun but the tourist “hoards” haven’t arrived yet. We’ll make the most of it, while it lasts!

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No, not in a “Rise of the machines” kind of way (Terminator fans will know what I mean) but in a “going up in the tourism world” way.

TripAdvisor have released a list of 15 destinations “on the rise” throughout the world and Lagos, Portugal tops their “World” list!

They don’t share how they’ve created these lists and what they are based on but it’s certainly nice to know and, when you spend any amount of time here, not difficult to agree with!

View from Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos, towards Meia Praia

Lagos Marina

Praia de Dona Ana, Lagos

Sunset from our balconyView towards Portimao from Ponta de Piedade

Across Praia de Batata and Meia Praia

Empty beach in February (Meia Praia, Lagos)

New Year Fireworks

Avenida dos Descobrimentos (our main street)

Lagos Town Centre

We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful town.

Don’t feel like you all have to come at once, mind you 😉

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It’s been a while since I blogged. That’s because, well, for the most part, there’s been nothing much blog-worthy to blog about!

School holidays continue and work/life goes on! The sun shines and…well, that’s about the extent of our weather news!

Eliot continues to swing between enjoying kids club and tolerating it. Some days he moans about having to go but it has made our working life so much easier knowing that it is, in the main ,uninterrupted and it’s far better for Eliot to be playing with friends and other children than stuck inside at home while we work. We know he enjoys it when he’s there so that counts for a lot.

Plus, he’s also learning to swim!

My little fishie

We haven’t quite convinced him to part with his snorkling goggles yet but I’m sure it’ll come. They go into the pool usually once or twice a day at kids club so he’s getting plenty of practise 🙂

There are also the obligatory days at the beach, of course.

Praia de Castelejo. Our "alternative" beach (very different from our local)

The boys bodyboarding (Eliot is very good with a body board/boogie board)

"Our" beach, Meia Praia. Rather busier (and flatter!) in August!

Nik and Eliot playing with the water ball

As well as beach-going (and inbetween periods of working, of course) the boys have joined us a few times at our local cafe. Wednesday is usually our “cafe” day (a kind of mid-week break and business meeting in one!) and, as Eliot is home on Wednesdays (to give him a break from kids club – no, I’m not sure why he wants one either!) he joined us this week.

Eliot plays "drunk" (on chocolate milk) on the cafe steps

Somehow, we’ve ended up with a second chameleon now too. Long story (and boring) but suffice to say a second one arrived and, after some initial traumas (I think Stiggy was fond of the space to himself) they seem to be settling in ok.

Miguel (the new one) is slightly bigger and greener but, on his arrival, Stiggy turned from a sandy brown to a vivid green with vibrant black spots! I think he’s being a bit territorial about it all but he’ll get over it, I’m sure.

It does mean that twice as many grasshoppers need catching, of course. Oh, and they are both rather partial to dragonflies (they last seconds when they get dropped in!)

They’re eating ok and sleeping ok so all is not so bad 🙂

Stiggy and Miguel "face off"

See, nothing much to say. Just a few pics to share as we look forwards to the arrival of my sister, who is our next houseguest 🙂

We don’t have a back to school date yet either. Sometime between 8th and 15th September apparently! I’m sure they’ll let us know when we need to! Most of the schoolbooks have arrived though so we are pretty well prepared. There are a few books left to come and a few more still to order, when the schools release the book lists (the bookstores have them already but not for all subjects)

We’ve stocked up on plenty of stationery, exercise books, pencils, rulers, glue, paint etc. The usual. It’s certainly much easier knowing what to expect second time around 🙂

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Honest, there IS much more to our life in Portugal than just the beach. It’s just that over the past few days, we’ve been appreciating more (especially after the horrendous weather we had last week while Mum was here!)

Yesterday, after school, we headed down for an hour or so with the boys. Hardly a soul around (despite it being half term. I expected it to get busier here!) and they played footie etc for a while.

Footie on the beach

My boys

We did decide (well, Nik and I decided) that we’d head down for an hour or so today too. Just to see if it was any busier (being half term ‘n’ all that. See these visits are all in the name of research really 😉 )

We waited for J to go back to school after lunch and then headed down to Meia Praia.

Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly heaving with families (or anyone much really!)

Hardly a soul to be seen

Up beach or down!

Plenty of room to chill (bake!)

We only lasted about an hour because it was pretty hot really (a few brave souls were in the sea. It wasn’t THAT hot!) and we went for a quick ice cream before coming back to get some more work done.

Beach photos are probably all the same really.

I will endeavor to get a change of subject for my next post/pics 😉

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