Holiday Time..destination..Algarve!

So I’m actually being super organised for a change and writing this just before I go away!  I am off to Portugal on Monday.  I hadn’t even been to the Algarve till until nearly six years ago and decided to take my husband on a surprise trip and we fell in love with it.

This is my fourth visit and we usually stay all inclusive but I really want to see more of it this time, possibly hire a car even and mooch around.  We have done alot of the tourist things there, bar the water park.  We have been around the Loule and Quarteira gypsy markets.  We have been on a boat out to see the dolphins, done Vilamoura harbour.  This time I would like to see what real living there is like.  So we decided to try self-catering so there is no ties to the hotel, this time we are visiting Olhus d’Agua which I have been reading is a lovely local fishing village where you can watch the fishermen haul their catch.  It seems to have a number of places, restaurants to eat where I hope to be able to eat food like the locals.

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We also thought if the weather is warm enough it would be nice to watch the sunset on the beach.  I read on a blog the other day that there is a place called Cape St Vincent that I had never heard of (and not sure how far it is from where I am staying) you can get there and they call it the end of the world, supposedly because of the horizon, and even on not much of a fantastic day you can still see the most spectacular sunsets.  I really want to go there but realistically it depends how far away it is.

I’m also not sure what to expect weather wise as I’ve only ever been September/October time before.  I’m not into going in the height of the season but we have always been blessed with good weather before, I think I’ve only encountered one day of rain, which is drastically different to a day of rain in the Lakes!!

Has anyone been and can you recommend things to do that are not perhaps costly but just nice to do.  Particular walks or beaches off the beaten track.  Great places to eat, not English food.  I’d be super grateful.

 

Love Em x

 

**Disclaimer: all pictures are not mine, I’m hoping to show you mine when I get back!

 

 

 

Breakfast Smoothie and a Healthy Snack

So I wanted to blog about something a bit different and thought I’d share my breakfast drink smoothie recipe and my favorite snack.

BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

I’m not always ready for a proper breakfast when I wake up but if I go out with nothing by 11 am I’m so hungry.  So I tend to do myself a Raspberry and Banana Smoothie and whip it up in my blender.  It’s really super easy to do and keeps you going till lunch.

Ingredients 

1 Banana

Almond/coconut milk approx 250ml

Chia seeds 1tsp

Raspberries frozen or fresh (these can be changed up for blackberries, blueberries ect)

Cinnamon 1tsp

Nut butter 1tbsp (I love almond but you use what you want)

Protein powder

This is so changeable, so you can swap you fruits, if you don’t want nut butter just leave it and not everybody likes having protein powder.  You dont have to use a specific type of protein powder, you may have flavoured powder..just give it a try.  If its too thick add more milk.  I find the protein powder fills me up more and if I’m running or biking that day it sets me up for the day.

HEALTHY SNACK

The second thing which I try and always find the time to make is not my recipe however anyone can do it.  Energy balls.  Do you ever find yourself just feeling like a bite to eat stood at the fridge with the door swung open thinking ‘What can I have?’

I am lazy when it comes to eating.  I naturally love good stuff, salad, fruit, healthy food.  Alas, I completely lack the motivation to prepare any of it!  These balls are tasty to me…I am not sure whether they’ll be to everyones taste but I’d definitely say try them.  You get around 15-18 balls dependant on how big you roll them.

Ingredients

1 mug of medjool dates

3/4 mug of almonds

3/4 cup of walnuts or any other (brazil are lovely too)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of ground flax seed

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of raw cacoa powder

1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder (I switch this to my own protein powder)

In a food processor throw in your nuts, chia seeds and flax seed and mix until it starts to cling to each other as the oils are coming out the nuts, usually about 2 minutes.

Make sure you have pitted your dates and throw those in too with the rest of the ingredients.  Mix them all.  I also have some biona date syrup which if you use regular dates instead of medjool it just adds some moisture to the mixture…not to much though.  When it’s all sticking in a dough, you are ready to roll them into balls.

I store them in the fridge and just snack on them through the week.  I try and restrict myself to 2-3 a day, which is hard!

They look like this…energybites3blog-460x450

 

Lush!  Enjoy xx

Shopping and Eating in Edinburgh

Are you ready to be persuaded to treat yourself and have a lovely day out somewhere you haven’t been before?  Perhaps after this you will.

I have to admit it is a rare occurrence to be able to say goodbye to children and responsibility for a day and indulge myself in some personal shopping and major perusal of everything and anything I fancy, without that ‘Can we go home now?’ and ‘I’m bored’.  If any of you have children you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from!

I of course had the regular request before I left early in the morning (funnily enough the only morning my daughters woke up without any windows being thrown open or lights turned on, the only day where I didn’t particularly care about them being up), so the  request, sorry I digress, was ‘bring me something back’.  I love having daughters but I think it must be across the board that when a mum leaves home for the day she still has to show how much she is thinking of her kids by bringing something back!

So I was up bright and early, so early I saw the sunrise which if you know me…well, let’s just say it never happens.  Got some great priced train tickets through the thetrainline.com which when booked in advance only cost £20.00 return.  Hit the tracks with a cappuccino in hand and a very good friend and we were off.   The journey was comfortable, fast and had lovely views…definitely a thumbs up for the Virgin trains.  Well done Richard.

The last time I visited Edinburgh was as a rather naive teenager and I have vague memories of eating mussels and drinking flaming zambucas.  No memories whatsoever of the architecture, monuments, shops ect…so I approached with a sense of excitement.

We arrived at 10.20am and promptly disembarked into a large train station, (this had twenty platforms which when you come from little old Kendal with two, it’s pretty impressive) and made our way up to the main street.  I’ll stand corrected on this but I think its called Edinburghs Golden Mile to the right and behind stands the very impressive Arthurs Seat and to the left Edinburgh castle.  I’m not to interested in architecture however I am a sucker for natural surrounding, landscapes and views, so I had a thought at how much I’d like to revisit and climb up Arthurs Seat.

Before I knew where I was we were off to Harvey Nicks…my good friend has visited before and was completely compos mentis on her last visit, which I fully appreciated.  I love the backdrop in Edinburgh from the main street but as you walk away and look further down the road you also can see the sea which is a fab view too and great that both are within reach in such small vicinity.

harvey nicks
Harvey Nicks

A lovely gentleman held the door open for us and we entered a veritable paradise to me, the beauty department.  Providing there are no snobby assistants they are a pleasure to look around.  They had a Mac Counter, Benefit, Space NK, Nars, Tom Ford, A Nail Bar (yes there are some ladies who drink champagne and have there nails done at 10.30ish in the morning!), Elemis and so on.  I swatched some Mac lipsticks and breathed in deeply without glancing at Tom Ford.  Think I’d have to be pulling in a little more money for that..or when the kids leave home, haha.  Over to Benefit, I did tell you I was after trying their Hoola  Bronzer and had been also told to try ‘They’re real’ mascara.  So I found a box where I can try a few of their products before buying full size products.

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Do the Hoola kit, Benefit

This is a nifty little kit.  I think it was £28.50 but I had saved in order to splash the cash so in it I got five bits to try.  The Hoola bronzer in miniature, an all over the face bronzer in liquid formula, but a little goes a long way.  It’s  quite sheer but lovely for holiday which I will be going on soon.  A red Benebalm which is like a pigmented lipbalm, again great for holiday with a tan.  You only need a little to bring out the colour but will help prevent drying lips.  A small mascara, which I have not tried before and a neutral lip gloss.

 

 

We then proceeded to walk down George Street which runs parallel to the Main Street.  There are so many lovely shops that we popped in and out of, Jo Malone, The White Company, another Space NK, Kiehls, Anthroplogie, Paper Chase.  By this time we had many scents we were covered in and hands covered with creams and swatches.  We decided to stop and have a leisurely lunch at the first suitable place we saw, which happened to be Tigerlily.

I’ve included pictures here.  Inside I loved it,where we sat was a very pretty area in creams and limes with a long bar (always a necessity when without children although not best midday is my personal assesment) where they sold every whisky, wine and cocktail I’ve heard of.  The surrounding areas were a homey design but extravagant at the same time, plush booths with velvet material, plenty of beautiful glass lighting.  The kind of seats you would of fought to get in as a child…that’s what they reminded me of anyway.

I felt a ninny taking pictures in such an establishment so I took them from the internet.   We opted for a delicious salad, roasted butternut & beets with blue cheese, herb cous cous and toasted walnuts.  Quite frankly I loved this place and would be certainly persuaded to visit again and stay.  It’s very central, clean, lovely staff and food and by the looks of it on the internet, beautiful bedrooms too.  Definitely one for an anniversary list or just for a romantic getaway.  After a small glass of wine and a pint of water to wash it down I was in my happy place, very chilled and de-stressed.

From here we went literally round the corner onto the main street to all the major retailers and with the full merriment of someone who had drunk daytime wine I went and spent some money.  We were in and out clothes shops and Lush, which I love the smell of now thanks to being educated by my oldest daughter, whom I’m sure would bypass everything else and live in that shop.  I picked her up a golden egg and am still unsure whether that is a good idea due to the amount of glitter I managed to get on myself in the process.  Glitter and baths?  We shall see.th

I picked up some shoes, a skirt, jumpers (yes still feeling the desperate need to huddle in a jumper…bring on the sun!) and boots.  Very happy with my bargains, we finished around Jenners, which to anyone English is House of Fraser.  A beautiful old building..

 

jenners
Jenners (House of Fraser)

And another beauty department, yeah me.  So I picked up a free 7 day trial foundation from YSL here which is from their Touche Eclat range.  Yes, I did eventually make a decision on that eye palette too and guess which I picked?! Urban Decays Smoky palette.  I’m in love with it.  I have a thing about grey eyeshadow at the moment and that’s what turned my head with the Nars palette but when I saw the smoky one there is at least three that are grey or pass for grey.  And as always the quality is creamy not powdery but just glides on.  Major treat of the day so I now have two.

So the greys are Slanted and Dagger but also Password comes out like a smoky grey.  Too much choice but no regrets at all.  Also I got the chocolate soleil bronzer from Too Faced and the Mascara from them, ‘Better than Sex’…I doubt it but lets give it a go.  I’m refraining from opening it at the moment as my Rollerlash is so good and the mascaras only have a limited shelf life anyway, but when I do I will let you know what I think.

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All spent up now with burning feet, that are not used to a full day shopping we headed for Jamies Restaurant for our dinner.  It is situated on George Street but in a very old building at the back so not the easiest place to find.  The inside is very flamboyant, decadent huge lights hanging,  deep burgundy velvet couches, hanging meats off the bar.  It was a beautiful setting but it lacked an atmosphere.  It may of been the time of day we went as we had reserved it for 5.15pm but still no one came whilst we were there.  To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed overall with the whole dinner.  The cocktail was delicious.  The meal was not for me.  I had a spinach and basil in Buckwheat pancakes with Smoked Mozzarella.  I am not fussy at all, I can virtually count on one hand the things I really do not like but I was disappointed.  The pudding however was rather moreish.  A sticky pavlova with blackberries and apple compote.

On a very full tummy we wobbled back to the train station to find it already waiting to take us home.  Time to say goodbye to this lovely city.  I will return but perhaps for a more educational purpose as there is a lot I would like to see.  But had a marvelous day and felt very spoilt on my way home as I contemplated once again living in the real world for at least two and a half weeks, because then I go on holiday.  Something else to look forward too.

Love Em x

 

Lake District Lover

As well as make up being a major love of mine you should know that I also LOVE where I live.  I moved to the Lake District in England from Manchester about 12 years ago and never looked back.  My husband and I were coming up virtually every moment we got on the weekends and fell in love with it.  The beauty is unmeasurable in my eyes…equal to possibly Canada or New Zealand…places that I would love to visit.

I’ve included some pictures of some beautiful places on my doorstep that attract so many people up here every year.  It also makes the rain worthwhile, well almost, although the minority that were devastated by the floods would most certainly disagree with that last statement.

I also love biking (although I’d describe myself as a fair weather rider).  You get to see many of those lanes that you just don’t go down in a car and become at one with your surroundings, giving you chance to enjoy a leisurely pace.

There is something quite unique about silence, something that allows the brain time to take in all the minute details and just relish every moment of stress free time.  Being at one with nature…seeing sights intended to bring us calm and serenity.  Green and blue are amazing colours.  It never ceases to amaze how many shades we can see.  Haybales, hills, bodies of water, evergreen trees, lambs with their mums, cows with their calves, blue skies just equals paradise to me.

Do you have those moments where you give your thoughts to how diverse nature and creation is?   I wonder if I travel across the  world if I could still feel like I was at home so much, in an enviroment similar to mine.

For now, I count my blessings that I ended up living in such a awe inspiring place, a place which offers somewhat peace and calm away from the mad world at times.   A place I can escape to within 5 minutes of driving and feel truly alone if I feel the need.  But at the same time cannot deny a urge to visit other equally beautiful, diverse places.

Where do you live?  Whats your story?  I’d love to know.  Thanks for reading.  Love Em xx