Thursday, July 16, 2009


It's been well over a month since I updated my blog and lots has happened in that time. The biggest thing being that I have just accepted a full time job as the Editor of a number of magazines - Algarve GoodLife, Algarve Property Magazine, Algarve Golf Magazine and Welcome.
It's a wonderful opportunity to really bring the magazines into the 21st Century and I am very excited at being given the chance to do so.
I am open to any interesting ideas that readers may have to improve any of the magazines and would love to hear from you if you have constructive (!) criticism to make.
You can email me at work on or at home on
I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It’s been a while since I wrote, for various reasons, including the purchase of a new computer which we haven’t been able to connect to the internet! In the process of trying to connect it, wirelessely, we also completely lost connection on hubby’s laptop too. Grrrr..... very irritating, I can tell you.
On the subject of irritations, buying this (pink!) laptop was another. Ok, it wasn’t the actual purchase that was annoying, it was the delivery method.
We decided to order from the UK, which would save us several hundred euros so we chose a popular website that we had used once before. Once the item was ordered (we paid an extra 40 pounds for delivery) we received a thank you email, followed by a ‘dispatched’ message. We waited... and waited... and waited. On the dispatched note, it had said that it would take 5 to 6 days for delivery. At the end of the week, I sent the company an email asking for confirmation on how delivery was expected, ie was it sent via Royal Mail or was it dispatched using a Courier? A response was never received, so I sent a further message several days later. Again... nothing.
At the same time that the computer was ordered, another item was ordered for hubby’s motorbike (also from the UK). We knew this had been dispatched via Parcelforce.
Some 14 days later, I received a phone call from a lady that lived elsewhere on our urbanisation. She had arrived home to find two parcels ‘thrown’ over her fence with our name on it! Fortunately she was a lovely and honest woman and so had located our contact details in the phone book, in order to tell us she had our parcels in her possession.
I was shocked to find that one of these parcels was my laptop. Fortunately it was not damaged. I am absolutely outraged that Parcelforce have acted in such an irresponsible way. Our address was written very clearly on the parcels... and on one it stated that it contained a new laptop! It is disgusting... to say the least. So I urge you... if you are ever ordering anything over the internet, be very wary if it is sent via Parcelforce.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh no... here comes the summer!

It’s that time of year again when the sun gradually gets hotter and hotter and the mosquitoes start to materialise everywhere you look. Last night was my first night in summer hell. It was warm but not quite warm enough to warrant switching on the air conditioning, so we opted for the fan instead. Having said that, the fan was on more to stop the mosquitoes from landing on us. It didn’t work too well, however, and I found myself swatting them around my pillow for much of the night.
When I did finally manage to sleep, I had heart stopping scary nightmares. And to top it all off, I had to wake up earlier than usual to drop my husband off somewhere this morning before heading to the office. I was exhausted. I was irritable. Not a good combination but what can you do?
I always forget how much I dislike the summer here. Almost everyone else I speak to comes to the Algarve for the sun. They simply love May through September because it’s “gloriously hot”. I, on the other hand, could quite easily move somewhere cold and dreary just to get away from it.
The first signs of the summer are enjoyable and relaxing, but after about a week or two, I’ve had enough…!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Roller skating

Hubby and I have taken up skating. I have a great pair of roller boots that allows me to stand up straight, while he has a flash pair of inline skates.

As a kid, my best friend and I used to skate almost every day, up and down the roads outside our houses, across to the park, occasionally to a roller disco – but that’s going back some (and we were very, very young!). The roller discos were big in the early eighties but I doubt if they even exist today. Having said that, almost everything else that was big in the eighties seems to be making a comeback so maybe we’ll be in luck?

Although, I doubt that I could actually dance on skates now. Back then, I was a bit of a mover and shaker – these days, moving and shaking just leaves me in a heap on the floor, with grazes on my knees and bruises on my bum (although it has a fair amount more padding now than it used to).

Today, we take our skates down to the local marina, where the surface is just perfect for skating. Half an hour to an hour and I can’t take any more. It’s not that my muscles ache, or anything, it’s that the boots keep your feet so rigid that your feet hurt so much. But it certainly is lots of fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Has winter finally come to an end?

This winter seems to have been endless. The rain never seemed to stop and the wind never seemed to stop blowing up a storm. Everybody seemed to be getting down and fed up, waiting for the Algarve sun to finally show its face and for the summer season to begin. After all, we're not far off May!
Yesterday evening was spent in a stunning location - arguably the Algarve's best marina, Vilamoura. Friends invited us to join them at a favourite Chinese restaurant of theirs for a sumptuous meal. We certainly were not disappointed with the surroundings, or the food - it was, without doubt, the best Chinese meal we have ever eaten in Portugal! The only drawback was the weather. It didn't just rain a little - it poured and poured! We had intended to arrive early and meander around the marina to soak up the atmosphere but with weather like that... the ambience was certainly missing.
Nevertheless, a fantastic evening was had by the four of us and culminated in the bar at the Tivoli Hotel, where we had a (rather pricey) drink, whilst enjoying the live music by a fantastic musician, who serenaded us with his guitar, his trumpet and rather impressive vocals.
This morning, much to our delight, the sun was shining. We're hoping that the summer might finally have arrived but I'm not going to get my hopes up just yet.
We've had a great morning with the same friends down in Praia da Rocha. Starting off at the marina where we embarrassed ourselves with our lack of talent on our roller skates (hubby on roller blades, however, knows what he is doing), we then proceeded to the local cafe, overlooking the beach. We ate breakfast and drank coffee while slowly my white wintery (practically translucent) skin became red and burnt, indicating a good time to leave. Arriving home, we noticed that the rain might have gone for the time being, but the wind certainly hasn't. It sounds like it's blowing a gale out there. Oh well... we can't have it all, can we?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A trip for two reasons

I have just returned from a short trip to the UK. Sadly it was for the funeral of my step mother-in-law’s brother-in-law. He was in his early eighties, but it still came as a bit of a shock to the family. He was a much loved gentleman in the community and the service was attended by a vast number of people from the little village in which he lived in Northamptonshire.
Although my husband and I are not direct blood family members, we are always treated as such, and it never fails to touch me how warm they are towards us. I do hope they will continue to visit us, even though my step mother in law is no longer with us, and she was obviously the main person they had always come to see.
The funeral was not the only reason for our visit, it was also the ideal opportunity to see my fifth nephew for the very first time. Born last September, we had not had the chance to fly over until recently. My sister’s fifth baby (all boys), is an absolute cutie! Seeing the little ones never fails to make me broody; hubby, on the other hand, seems to get a little traumatised just at the mere thought of having to hold the little ‘un. I put him on his lap, and my dear hubby froze – not wanting to move a muscle. The 7 month old didn’t seem to mind, however, happily looking him straight in the face with a smile and a gurgle. The look of absolute terror on hubby’s face led me to remove the babe from his vicinity. Hopefully, should we ever have our own, he might be a little different!

Monday, March 30, 2009


I received this wonderful email this morning and just had to share it with you... be sure to read on below the pictures.

In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog.. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had clearly been abused.
In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a Greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, run by a man named Geoff Grewcock and known as a willing haven for Animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.
Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.
They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home...
But Jasmine had other ideas. No-one remembers now how it began, but she started welcoming all Animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It wouldn't matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting Animal, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Geoff relates one of the early incidents. "We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them."
"But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings.
"She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose."
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits.
And one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the Roe deer with affection and makes sure nothing is matted.
"They are inseparable," says Geoff "Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary.
It's a real treat to see them."
Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next Orphan or victim of abuse.
From left, Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, orphaned Roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine with a Mothers heart doing best what a caring Mother would do...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How time flies!

I seem to have a time monster with me at the moment. It’s sitting on my shoulder and eating away at all my time! Although, having said that, I do know where all my time has been going…

Firstly, I have recently met lots of fabulous new friends and, whenever possible, we meet up, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee. The problem lies there. The cup of coffee. We arrange to meet at, say, 10am and then we sit over said cup of coffee and chat… and chat… and chat! On Monday, I met my good pal, AW, and I didn’t get home until 4pm!

A week before that, I met up with AW, HJ and SK and again… we just chatted and chatted and chatted and before we knew it, the time had just flown by.

However, I’m not spending all my time just sitting and chatting about everything and anything… I have actually begun doing something a little more meaningful with my Friday mornings. I have started to volunteer at a local children’s home.

Although I am only with a few of the children for a few hours per week (I have been taking them to their weekly swimming class), I do feel as though I am doing something important. With so much for the staff to have to attend to at the Home, I am able to free up a couple of hours for them to do other tasks which may have otherwise been difficult.

There are currently around 30 children at the Home and almost all of them are siblings. The Home is one of the very few in the country that caters for girls and boys, allowing brothers and sisters to remain together. They are all aged between three and 17 years old (younger babies are looked after at other homes throughout the country), allowing this Home to concentrate on older siblings.

All the people I have met at the Home have been absolutely fantastic. They are firm with the children when they need to be, using what would be called ‘tough love’, but you can tell the children are well looked after and loved.

It’s heartbreaking to hear the stories of some of these youngsters, some having lived there almost their entire lives and some no longer having any contact with their parents. Many of them have what are translated as ‘Support Families’, who collect the children perhaps on a Friday, and look after them over the weekend and sometimes during school holidays, giving them some semblance of a family life.

The Home is always open to donations and help of any kind. If you would like any further information, please let me know and I will put you in touch with them.

Over the past few days, my time has been taken over by a book! You know when you get into a great novel and you just can’t put it down? Well… I had that problem. The book, given to me by another friend, is by Barbara Erskine and wow… what a fantastic story. Daughters of Fire is set in present day as well as 2,000 years ago in Britain. I was so engrossed that I have already bought another by the same author. Although I’ll give that style a rest for the time being and my next read will be serious chick lit!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The perfect car

Several weeks ago I had a slight accident in my car. I was driving towards a roundabout and therefore slowed down to a stop. Moments later I was shunted from behind. My immediate thoughts were that the back of the car must be smashed to pieces, considering the force of the impact. However, on seeing it, I was surprised by how little ‘visual’ damage there was.
The driver of the other car was a young woman, very pleasant and very apologetic. It turns out that the car wasn’t hers, it belonged to the huge company she worked for, hence she wasn’t too worried about the damage (to the car or to her pocket!).
We sorted everything out and handed all the necessary paperwork to our respective insurance companies and waited for them to contact us. As my car is a solid little Mini Cooper S, we prefer to use the services of BMW / Mini to get it fixed. We finally took it in yesterday morning.
Fortunately our insurance company was able to offer us a hire car while the Mini is being fixed. Unfortunately, compared to the Mini, our replacement is dire... to say the least!
Although the Citroen C3 looks like a cute little car from the outside, it’s a totally different story inside! What appear to be bucket seats, hug you in all the wrong places – making it quite an uncomfortable ride, every time you change gear you bang your elbow on the arm rest, the hideous dashboard speedometer, etc is so big and in your face it almost distracts you from actually driving! But the worst thing of all is... it’s just so slow! Usually I can easily pull out into the fast lane to overtake, yet this morning I was barely even able to reach the speed limit, let alone pass anyone else! I think I will now look upon my little Mini with renewed enthusiasm and love. It’s speedy, incredibly comfortable and a strong little car!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Extra extra!

I had such an unusual morning the other day. I was an extra for a commercial
that was filmed in the Algarve. Having sent in my details to the production
company, I was among 100 extras that turned up at the Alvor Aerodrome to
take part. On arrival, I felt a little lonely considering there appeared to
be numerous small pods of friends all grouped together while I stood ‘on my
tod’, trying to appear confident and casual on my own. I also noticed that
many of the extras were Dutch (it is a Dutch production company), so I
wasn’t feeling brave enough to approach them, not being able to speak a word
of Dutch. Not that that would have really mattered… most Dutch people here
are incredibly friendly and all speak English!
However, eventually I noticed someone I knew from years ago, and his fiancée
whom I’d never met, so it was great to catch up while we waited for filming
to begin.
About an hour or two later we were called out to the middle of a slightly
muddy field where we proceeded t o watch a stunt pilot in a light aircraft.
There were plenty of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ where we all tried our very best at
acting suitably impressed (actually we were very impressed, this guy was
We waved, pointed, looked up and across, took photos, looked afraid (very
afraid…). Whether we were doing a fantastic job or not is another question,
of course! Hopefully at some point we will be able to see the fruits of our
labours, (perhaps on YouTube?), or the production company’s website.
I’ll keep you posted!
Oh… I almost forgot to say… we were all paid for doing
something that was actually a lot of fun. I do hope I’ll be asked to be an
extra again!

Why is it that when you've got money to spend on clothes, you can never seem to find anything you like? I seem to have this problem quite a lot (well, I don't often have much money for that but you know what I mean!).This happened to me again the other day. I had just a little bit of money burning a hole in my pocket and so I decided to spend a few hours in the local shopping centre. I think I went into every single shop there, Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Springfield Woman, etc etc. Although the clothes all looked very pretty - there wasn't a single thing that I would want to spend my pennies on.

If I didn't have anything to spend, I bet I would have found masses of items to buy! The other side of the coin, of course, could have been the fact that I was shopping with hubby. Perhaps had I been with a few girlfriends I would have been more inclined to try things on and get their honest opinions, which would more than likely lead to a purchase or two. Perhaps that's what I should do. A good old girlie day out, shopping and lunch!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Canada coming up!

I have square eyes.
I've spent almost two whole days staring at the computer screen... but for fab reasons. I am organising our next holiday... to Canada!
It's so exciting, I can hardly breathe!! (ok... maybe I can breathe perfectly well... I was just making a point). It'll be our first trip there.
Three whole weeks in Canada is going to be amazing. We are looking into flying into Vancouver, hiring a car to drive miles and miles to the likes of Banff, Jasper, Whistler, Clearwater and then back down to Vancouver Island where we will visit numerous beautiful locations. I bet we're going to fall in love with it so much that we won't want to come home.
If anyone has any tips or advice about visiting Alberta and British Columbia, please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chick Flicks galore

I have probably not mentioned this before but I am a bit of an ‘aholic’. No, I’m not addicted to anything dodgy or untoward. I do like a glass of wine in an evening though, and I am rather keen on the odd piece (or slab) of chocolate, however I’m not addicted to any of these things.
I am addicted to DVDs.
I cannot walk past a DVD bargain bin without delving in and having a good old rummage to find one that I haven’t already got – or one that simply appeals to my many tastes.
I’ve probably got between 70 and 100 DVDs in total (I can’t count exactly because my friends borrow them a lot!), and I am showing no signs of slowing down.
My particular favourites are so called ‘chick flicks’, preferably with a gloriously romantic and funny ending (I can’t be doing with those films that end abruptly or sadly). Having said that, I own a few with sad endings but I can’t bear to watch them too much. Too sad, too depressing, too many shed tears. I do tend to cry a lot when watching movies (and even on TV… I have even been known to cry at the top of a hat when watching glimpses of cartoons, soaps, adverts, even). I have been called ‘sad’ and I probably am.
I could talk about movies for hours on end and I am lucky that I have a fellow colleague at work with the same tastes as me… and with the same fondness for movies. We do talk a lot about films, and little else (we do get our work done at the same time, I might – we are women of many talents!)
I have so many favourite chick flicks, but the current ones at the top of my list include Serendipity with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack, Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon, Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr (swoon), Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Aidan Quinn (swoon).
I have so many others too. I’d love to hear what your favourite chick flicks are. Leave a comment if there are any you’d recommend that I haven’t included here. I’m always keen to get recommendations from fellow chick flickers!
Here is a list of the ones I have (let’s see if I can remember them off the top of my head) Kate and Leopold, Maid in Manhattan, Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality (1 and 2), Gray Matters, Elizabethtown, Love Actually, Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Erin Brockovich, The Wedding Planner, Mona Lisa Smile, Mean Girls, You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones Diary (1&2), Chocolat, The Sweetest Thing, Steel Magnolias, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Family Stone, Ghost, Sliding Doors, The Wedding Date, Just Like Heaven, Sleeping with the Enemy. I'll add more to my list as I remember them (and buy them, of course!)
There are a few that I had but seem to have vanished into thin air… they include How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Fab films, both of them.

But its not just chick flicks I love... but that's for another post... another day!

After a few weeks of glorious spring-like weather, the dark clouds have returned with a vengeance. Last night, it rained non-stop and the drive into work this morning was hazardous to say the least. When I say hazardous, I don’t mean roads covered in ice and snow like the recent flurry in the UK, I’m talking rain so heavy that you can barely see your bonnet, let alone the car in front of you.
I love driving at the best of the times, but can’t stand it when you can’t see very well at all – this meaning either when it’s raining so hard or at night when the combination of darkness and oncoming blinding lights make it almost nigh on impossible to manoeuvre the car. OK, perhaps I am being a bit of a drama queen (it’s in my nature) but I just don’t like driving when conditions aren’t at their best.
Pottering down the motorway (I certainly wasn’t going to speed in such conditions, was I?), I did notice an accident. It looked like it might have involved two of three cars and it had only just happened. All drivers were at the side of the road on their mobile phones. Luckily, this time, there didn’t seem to be any injuries. Speed was probably what caused it. It usually is.
People don’t seem to take into account the heavy rain when driving – instead they hop into their vehicles and put their feet to the floor as if the weather was impeccable and the roads dry. It drives me mad when they come speeding past you in conditions like those, not only will they likely kill themselves, they will likely take you with them. It sends shivers down my spine just to think what might happen.
Slow down, people. It won’t hurt you. In fact it might just save your life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Magical Trip

I’ve had the most wonderful weekend – not only did we spend it with our closest friends (J&J)who only visit Portugal two of three times a year, we also went out on the most amazing boat trip.
I had won the boat trip at a raffle at a charity fashion show that was held late last year, and as it was for four of us, we were keen to wait for J&J to come back over when the weather was good.
The weather was beautiful – perfect for a boat trip. But this was a boat trip with a difference. It was to go and see the Algarve’s dolphins. Are you surprised? Didn’t you think there were dolphins in the Algarve? Well, there are. There are loads of them.
Magical creatures, to say the least, the Common Dolphins surrounded us 15 minutes after we left Lagos Marina. We counted about 18 of them and they swam excitedly around the rigid inflatable boat – almost inviting us to swim with them. Had it been a hot August day, I would have been easily tempted (albeit, I wouldn’t have given in to temptation because I’m not very fond of the sea, especially when you can’t see or stand on the bottom).
We stayed with them for some time, enjoying the company of these exceptional creatures, watching them in a daze, mesmerised at their beauty and fun-loving temperaments. After a while, it was time to start heading back so turning around, the dolphins followed us closely. Even as we sped up, they also sped up, speeding at high velocity. It was if they were saying, ‘don’t go, stay and play some more!’ Eventually they let us go on our way and slowed down.
However just a few kilometres later we came across another pod, this time there seemed to be more youngsters among them. They were just as beautiful and we were keen to stay but our trip was coming to an end so we said our goodbyes (mentally, not verbally, of course) and went on our way. In total, we saw about five groups of them – all within about 8kms of the coast. It was mesmerising to see so many of these incredible creatures in their natural habitat and I almost felt like a child again (well…. It wasn’t THAT long ago!).
Our trip was courtesy of Bom Dia / Algarve Dolphins, who were fantastic. Really friendly and helpful and if I ever wanted to go on such a trip again, I would certainly use their services.
Normally I am quite nervous on board any kind of vessel smaller than your average ferry, however, this time I felt totally at ease the whole time we were out at sea. It appears that my sea legs are finally beginning to grow!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The sun is shining!

After what feels like months of miserably wet, cold and windy weather, the sun is finally shining in the Algarve! The sky is as blue as it could possibly get and the feel of the sun of my skin is utterly divine.
I've never been much of a summer gal, having always preferred cold winters where we can snuggle up on the sofa wearing thick woolly jumpers, but I think I'm finally changing my mind. I have noticed that as I get older, I love it when the spring pushes the winter out of the way.
I feel like taking a deep breath and breathing in the real beginnings of a new year. I feel more positive and can look to the future... wherever that may be!
As I type, hubby is outside, getting rid of the tons and tons of weeds that have taken hold of the garden over recent months. Now, I'm not THAT into the sun that I will go out there and give him a hand (I don't do gardening) but it is lovely to watch him hard at work digging over what promises to be full of vegetables over the next several months. Those delicious home grown varieties that he has put so much hard work into makes them even more tasty to eat!
Don't get me wrong... I have helped on the odd occasion in the past. If he has had to pop over to the UK, for example, I've had no choice put to be responsible for the watering of all those lovely veggies. And I do pick the stuff when it's ripe for eating! The peas often don't make it to the table as they're so delicious freshly picked.
Maybe in a few year's time, I will develop a keenness for green fingers, but for the time being, I'm just going to enjoy sitting out there with a good book and (in the evening) a nice cold glass of vinho! Mmmmm
Roll on summer.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

The mind boggles

My mind is buzzing..... for so many different reasons.
As I have mentioned previously, I am one of the organisers of what promises to be a fabulous girlie event this weekend. The Walk In Wardrobe is a swishing event for those in the know. For those not... come on dahlings... get with it. It's where women get together to swap clothes. Perfect for the current situation - or should I call it recession?
With businesses going bust left, right and centre, going shopping is not on many of our agendas. Let's face it...most of us just can't afford it. As much as we'd love nothing more than to go and spend our pennies on the latest fashions, we need to scrimp and save for the more mundane daily items such as food (yaawwwn).
Actually... I am a foodie. I love my food. I love your food. I love most food. I could so easily be a big fat heffer... thank goodness my parents didn't give me the so-called 'fat' gene. Yes, of course I know I'm not a skinny bean pole and I could do with losing a few pounds but I like having a bit of meat on me. And so does hubby.
Anyway... I seem to have gone off on a tangent (I do that a lot). I was talking about The Walk In Wardrobe. Having never organised anything of real importance (my step mother in law was mostly responsible for our wedding), I'm finding the whole process, although enjoyable, a tad mind boggling. I couldn't be an events organiser to save my life. I'll leave that to those who can (Eloise... that would be you... so in future....ahem).
Not only that, but I have so many other things to think about at the moment - but I won't bore you with any of that just now. That's for the future!
With little time on my hands, that's about all I can manage today... but I will be back with some great tales of swishing next week.
Now.... where did I put that Chocolate Digestive???

Friday, January 23, 2009

I heart TV

This horrible horrible weather is beginning to do my head in! It's been raining for days on end... the last couple of days it's been akin to the constant drizzle you get in England.
With very little else to do when the weather is so awful, I found myself sitting in front of a roaring fire, watching TV this afternoon. Although, having said that, that is where you will often find me on a Sunday afternoon!
I love my TV!!
I was rather excited last week on finding that, after returning from our holiday in the States, we had lost all our freesat channels (bummer) so I re-booted (re-configured, re-whatever!) our receiver and found a load more channels!!!
Before, we only picked up a few random channels including BBC and ITV1. Now I can get ITV2, ITV4, Channel4, Film4, E4, a whole load music channels, Zone Horror, Zone Thriller, Zone Romantica, etc, etc, etc! I now have a choice!
Although it's wonderful for such a TV addict, it's also a pain in the proverbial because I find myself constantly flicking through the channels as I'm afraid I might be missing something exciting.
This afternoon though, I found some 'interesting' viewing (you can take that any way you like!). On the E4 Channel, first was an American show about a beauty pageant for mothers and their adult daughters, where the winner goes away with 100,000 dollars. It was highly amusing to see grown women acting like little girls.
Today they were introducing themselves to the judges in order to give a good first impression. I have to say, only one duo managed to do that. Most of the others just looked, and sounded, like spoilt little girls. Each couple had to give themselves a name too... this was very funny considering one opted for 'Silent But Deadly'.. clearly they weren't aware of the connotations of such a name (unless they suffered with terrible wind, of course).
Another team chose 'Skin Deep'... not much to them, then?
I guessed that the 'Blonde Bombshells' weren't too interested at coming across at anything other than dumb blondes, which they achieved.
Mind you, it was very entertaining and highly amusing... if I'm at home, I will make at point of watching it next weekend.
Following this painfully amusing but very watchable programme was another called 'The Bachelor', filmed two years ago. I had obviously heard about this programme (wasn't Ulrika Johnson on a British version??). The guy was 30 years old and he had been paired up with a dozen or so astonishingly beautiful and successful women in their forties. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with the age gap but they were making a big thing out of it, and then at the end of the show they brought on a dozen of other girls to compete with them... only they were all in their twenties! Fascinating! Again, I'd love to know who he falls for! (I'll keep an eye out next weekend).
Soon after that, the rain came down even harder, clouds became thicker and the sky was as black as Bill mother's (where does that expression come from, I wonder?), which made the satellite TV unwatchable! Typical. As much as I wanted to avoid the kitchen, it beckoned... with little else to do, I ended up preparing dinner... very early!
What is there to do in this country when the weather is so appalling? You'd think after nearly 23 years, I might have come up with a suitable solution by now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

After we left Las Vegas, I didn't feel quite so sad because our next stop was even more exciting. Yes... we were headed to one of the most fantastic cities in the world... New York!
I loved it from the minute we landed. Actually, it was even before that. As we circled the city from above, flying out over the water, to make a U-turn in the sky, I could see a few of the well known landmarks and my heart was practically in my mouth! We were in New York!! Can you tell I was excited??
Although our drive from JFK to the hotel was pretty hairy and long winded, it was good fun. We had paid for one of those transfers that picks up / drops off other people as well - so we saw quite a lot just in that single drive. The driver was pretty fond of his horn though. But then, over the next few days I would discover that ALL New York cab / transfer drivers are fond of them.
We had chosen a hotel that looked cool and contemporary, The Hudson. It was pretty cool - the entrance was jaw dropping. The rooms were not. To maximise potential, the developers squeezed as many rooms as physically possible into that space, which meant the room wasn't much bigger than my bathroom at home! But it didn't bother us, we would be spending far more time out and about than holed up in the hotel.
The city certainly disappoint. I loved everything about it and we crammed everything possible into those five days. The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty (although we just did a ferry ride, we didn't get off), Central Park - ice skating and a horse drawn carriage ride, Times Square - where we saw the Naked Cowboy (what a giggle that was!), Ground Zero, Broadway (although we didn't see a show), China Town, Little Italy, Rockefeller Centre.... it was all so exciting!
We had some fabulous meals - particularly in an Irish Pub & Restaurant called DJ Reynolds - super! There seemed to be a Starbucks on every street corner - good, because we had become suitably addicted to the Gingersnap lattes and the Peppermint Mocha Twists (I miss them already). We did the obligatory bus tours all over the city, although, disappointedly it rained on the occasion we decided to visit uptown so our visions of Harlem, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, etc were somewhat occluded by misty windows. Never mind... next time, we'll see it properly.
Since visiting New York, every time we see it on TV I get overly excited - as if I am now some kind of NY expert. We've been there... and there... I shout knowingly. Silly really (but, hey, that's me).
The recent plane crash in the Hudson is an example... that very ferry terminal they keep mentioning is the one we used to get a boat trip around Manhattan. Whenever they mention 42nd street, hubby and I nod to each other knowingly. We know what they're talking about.
Speaking of that plane crash... Wow. Incredible. That pilot and his co-pilot are real life heroes. It's amazing that they managed it so smoothly and without any casualties.
Next time I go on a plane, I want to hear that man's name as the name of our pilot.
On the subject of pilots, on our plane ride home from Gatwick to Faro, we had a female pilot. I smiled, knowing that we would have a great flight. Hubby, on the other hand, raised his eyebrows. I think he might have secretly prayed (and he's not a religious man).

Monday, January 12, 2009


I'm back from my travels Stateside and I have to say... I wanna go back!!!
I have had the time of my life in Las Vegas and then New York. Wow... what a place! No matter what I saw on TV or through the Americans that I met before I went, nothing prepared me for the amazing place that it is. The people are the friendliest and most genuine I have ever met and I would love to move over there!
Las Vegas was another world in itself. Each hotel was like a mini city - huge in every way and so impressive (or should I say 'awesome'?). I was expecting serious tackiness and I hardly saw that at all. Yes, there were a couple of places that were a tad on that side but the majority were simply beautiful - they took my breath away. We walked for miles and miles and we were there for two weeks but we still didn't get the chance to see it all.
The New York New York Hotel and Casino boasted its' own mini statue of liberty and roller coaster (no... I didn't have a go!) and inside was like taking a walk through the city itself.
The same goes for The Paris - beautiful.
I loved the MGM purely for the stunning lions that were there throughout the day. They had a purpose built area that was sound proof and smell proof so that they remained calm and comfortable while there.
One of the most beautiful, and well known hotels, was the Bellagio. Every quarter (or half) an hour, the fountains came to 'life', dancing to music so that everyone in the streets could watch. It was simply stunning.
The Venetian had its own canals, where you could ride a gondola, while the gondoliers sang to you (a little embarrassing, I guess, so we just watched!). Also there, was an exact replica of St. Marks Square - unbelievable!
Caesars Palace was by far the most impressive of all hotels and casinos. It was absolutely enormous and the attention to detail was exquisite. It's hard to describe just how beautiful it was.
The Stratosphere is a must see! Soaring more than 100 floors upwards, the views from atop were breathtaking, and not only that... there were terrifying rides up there!! I was nervous just watching people climb aboard them. I even shiver now, at the thought! The photos above sum them up!
Venturing out of Las Vegas, we hired a car and sat nav (we called her Sheila), and headed for the Grand Canyon. Sheila took us two hours in the wrong direction! And then when we were on the right road, we had to travel 21 miles on a dirt track. Bear in mind that it had also been snowing, it was a bit icy (and dicy!). We eventually got there, excited at the prospect of seeing one of the wonders of the world.
However, we would be disappointed. We chose the West Rim because of the newly built Sky Walk (where you could step out onto a glass ledge to see the depth of this impressive site). Once there, we had to pay 20 dollars to park the car. Then we had to take a bus to the canyon - another 30 dollars EACH. Once there, the main view had been blocked by the construction of what appeared to be some kind of hotel at the Sky Walk. And if we wanted to go on the Sky Walk, we had to pay another 20 or 30 dollars EACH! Obviously we could see part of the canyon but were told it had been completely spoiled. We were very disappointed to have wasted so much money. If we ever go again, we have decided to go on a helicopter tour instead - at least then we will be able to see unobstructed views of this awesome site.
The Hoover Dam was also on our list of must-sees and we weren't disappointed there. It was fantastic! A new motorway was being built across it and so it was pretty incredible to see that! Pretty terrifying too, to imagine the workers up there!
I'm sure you're beginning to get the picture now just how amazed I was by everything there was to see at Vegas. It's somewhere I would recommend everyone visit at some time in their lives. I'm sure I'll be back!
I'll tell you all about New York later!