A Retreat to Portugal? 


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Don’t blink but it would appear that the first whisper of summer has arrived. Indeed we’ve even managed some days out in the garden. We’ve even have enough sun to get some gardening done!

I love the UK, it is my home and I’d never move abroad however the problem with this good old British summertime is that it doesn’t last two minutes. You sent the kids out to school in the morning in boots, with a coat buttoned up and a sun hat and sun cream in their back. Slightly unpredictable could be the understatement of the century.

While it doesn’t matter where you go and of course you can’t 100% predict the weather there are some places which offer a fairly good chance of sun and for those days where your luck runs out and the clouds, or worse the rain descends there are plenty of other wonders to see, experience and enjoy which don’t reply upon the goodwill of the weather. Portugal is one of these wonderful destinations.

I was talking to a friend of mine who thinks that there should be a special holiday option for mums (and dads of course) where you can simply disappear for a long weekend or more and recuperate from the almighty juggle that is being a parent, working, looking after a house and everything else. Doesn’t that sound magical? I think that if I could choose anywhere; a special retreat for myself I would probably choose a four day holiday in Portugal.

Why Portugal? I haven’t been there, it isn’t a hellishly long way to travel from my base in North Yorkshire and I’ve always been intrigued by the beauty and the history of the place. The coastline looks absolutely amazing, with gorgeous sandy beaches that stretch for miles and I like the idea of exploring the little villages which appear to be largely untouched by the touristy feel that other popular areas seem to fall victim to all too easily.

I’ve actually got it all planned out. I’d fly out on a Thursday (Leaving on the Monday after lunch), arriving in time to check into a gorgeous hotel with the most beautiful sea view. I’d eat at a local rustic eatery, take a stroll and retire to my room and sleep. I’d sleep for at least fourteen hours because I’m a Mum and I haven’t slept for fourteen hours since I was a teenager. I’d enjoy a leisurely bath, without rubber ducks or interruptions from little boys and then set out (after a lovely breakfast of course) to see museums, historical and cultural places of interest, local shops, the beach……

Back down to earth for a moment I’d miss the boys and Roy terribly and probably spend every five minutes on my phone checking that they were ok and what not. Perhaps a solo Mum retreat isn’t on the cards however Portugal is very much on our “hit list” for places to visit and enjoy.

Have you been? Is it as lovely as it sounds / looks online?


For The Love of Reading 


Roy and I are both keen readers, having been so from an early age. I remember fondly my early library visits, reading anything I could get my hands on from the Chalet School and Trebizon books to historical Mills & Boons (it is a proud day when you get your young adult library ticket), classics such as Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, Ballet Shoes by  Noel Streatfeild, horrors, Anne McCaffrey, historical accounts and more, much more! I was always something of a sponge when it came to reading and no genre was ignored.

Roy is also widely read, although his favourites fall within the sci fi and fantasy section (a love of which I’ve keenly adopted which means I may add Raymond Feist, David Gemmell, the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms sagas and more to my list of favourites!). Even now as busy grown ups with work and responsibilities we both ensure that we have reading matter to hand and carve time out of our week here and there to dedicate to enjoying a good book.

Reading gives us both a lot of pleasure and has broadened our horizons immeasurably which is something we both hope the boys will enjoy as they grow. At 4yrs and 8yrs both are story/book fans with Kieran (the eldest) devouring books much as I did when I was his age and Taylor loving story time. Already he is telling stories to his teddies, his brother and to us by using the pictures in his books and letting his imagination run wild. He’s recognising and sounding out letters and I know that when he starts school in September that his reading skills will start to develop quickly. An exciting new chapter indeed!

Roy and I both have our favourite type of books and favourite authors and of course there are some that we’d love to see the boys enjoy as they get older that we did when we were younger. What’s important to us though is that they find their own way, develop their own love of reading and decide what brings them the most joy. I can see Kieran enjoying the same fantasy type and adventure books that we have loved although I also think he might also be one who likes mysteries (he likes working things out). Taylor is harder to read as his favourites at the moment include The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet and similar titles (oh to be four again!).

All we can do is encourage their love and make sure a wide range of books are readily available (we are fans of The Works). We visit the library, take part in their Summer Reading Challenge (this year will be the first time Taylor has been old enough to take part!) and  keep our own bookshelves very well stocked with a range of different books, comics and more.

We both sincerely hope that their enthusiasm for reading continues on as ours has. I can’t imagine a world without reading, without the magic of walking in someone else’s shoes and experiencing worlds (real and otherwise!) that we wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to.

What do your little ones love to read? Are you a big reader? I’d love to hear what your favourite authors and titles are (any inspiration for new books to try are always welcome!).


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