What’s it all about?
Before I relocated to Portugal I read several blogs and joined a couple of great forums which gave some good sound advice. My blog is mainly aimed at people who are thinking about leaving the UK and moving to Portugal but also for friends and family members to catch up with what we are up to. It will be a realistic blog on my experiences (good & bad). I am not an expert on anything (apart from sarcasm and eating cake) but I thought that if I could share some information on the procedures that we have completed so far that it may help others. Often you google a question and receive several conflicting responses which is quite frustrating. Hopefully my information can help others. My blog will include important info and updates with a bit of added “Helena humour” along the way.
When we left the UK for our Portuguese adventure on 31st Dec 2019 I never imagined that we would be confined to our house in a state of emergency within weeks of arriving and experiencing a world wide pandemic. I assumed Brexit was the only shit show that we had to deal with, I was wrong. I thought we would be exploring the local beaches and beauty spots, spending long weekends in cafes chatting to the locals, developing our language skills and making new friends for life.
The Portuguese are very friendly and social people and due to the mild climate a lot of social activities are held outdoors. It is a worrying time but we are fortunate as hubby still has his job for now and I have so many DIY and gardening tasks to keep me occupied for weeks. I can immerse myself with my thoughts whilst gardening and I have beautiful views, the tranquil sounds of nature and the wildlife which brings me joy and peace in these times of uncertainty. It gives me time to reflect and pray for those less fortunate than us.
I recently visited a nearby village for supplies and apart from a few shoppers buying essentials it was eerily empty. No locals sat outside the cafes enjoying their usual coffee, pastel de nata and chat. No greetings by kissing both cheeks. Some people were wearing masks and gloves and most stores have a one in one out policy. There is no panic buying here and the shelves are fully stocked. There are no extensive queues for supermarkets. Local people are amazing and their generosity is so refreshing they share their home grown crops and eggs their chickens have laid. They look after the elderly and vulnerable too. The people here are so great and their selfless attitude makes me proud to live in a small country with a big heart.
Just the 2 of Us
This is us (Helen & Adrian), just a middle aged couple living the dream life in Portugal.
During the summer months you will find us on the water. Here is the first ever place we christened our SUP boards “Love Island”. We fell in love with our new hobby and it’s a great way for us to have fun, exercise and share togetherness. If you adore SUP like us them I have a whole separate blog post dedicated to SUP.
Hiking & Biking
We LOVE to hike in Spring, Autumn and Winter. There are so many awesome nature hikes amongst the mountains in Central Portugal and we have embarked on some amazing trails to breathtaking serene places including some fabulous waterfalls, lakes, lagoons and river beaches with a backdrop of a glacial valley! Here are just a few local hidden gems.
Hubby is the biker I can’t ride a cycle due to spinal surgery, I had my coccyx removed! It was as painful as it sounds. I am so proud of hubby for completing his first ever Granfondo race up the Serra da Estrela mountain. It’s the highest mountain in mainland Portugal. He is my HERO!
Most of the time you will find us on the water SUP boarding. Hubby can also be found working hard in the home office on weekdays and I can be located in the garden if you shout loud enough. I will be braless, wearing dirty leggings and a vest top but immersed in nature which is my favourite place. Occasionally we like to dress up like proper folk and do “Palace Posh” (ha ha).
All about Me & My Family
I was born in the 70’s in Bristol, UK. I’m the little blonde chubby one in the photo hitting my grandad over the head with a spade! I lived in the same one house growing up: a 3 bed terraced house with a small garden on Coronation Road in Southville. I lived with my mum and my older sister. We were fairly poor financially, mum was a single parent but worked hard to provide for us and give us a stable happy home. We may not have had much, but we had each other and there was plenty of laughter. It took me many years to realise that true happiness does not come with a price tag. Happiness is something we choose with our own attitude and gratitude.
Growing Old Gracefully
The funny thing is I don’t think I’ve actually changed that much over the years. Yes, I have wrinkles and crinkles and a few grey hairs but I’m nearly 50 and the bonus is I don’t have that hideous fringe (ha ha).
My Childhood Home – Coronation Road
My daughter Teanna (20) outside my childhood home March 2023. My Dad still lives here!
Me looking a bit worse for wear outside my childhood home July 2023. I totally blame the alcohol and I usually scrub up much better, honestly! (ha ha).
I grew up in Southville in the 70’s & 80’s and it has changed so much. We used to call it Ashton Gate but my parents home is located on Coronation Road so technically Southville which apparently is now the new Clifton (ha ha). Just look at how much it’s changed! I hardly recognised North Street and the surrounding postcode of BS3 when I re-visited for my birthday week in March 2023. So much awesome urban street art. What an electric sensational vibe!
Bristol is famous for so many weird and wonderful things. Here are just a couple – Bristol Balloon Fiesta & Banksy.
Bristol Bridge by Day & Bristol Harbour by Night
I have many fond memories of my hometown Bristol. It will always hold a special place in my heart but for me now, Portugal is my forever home.
I left school when I was 16 and started working FT for Natwest Bank. After 2 years of saving hard I set off for a round the world 1 year backpacking trip with my sister. I think this was the start of my love for foreign countries and experiencing different cultures. We visited Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, USA, Australia and New Zealand. I returned home to the UK a little earlier than planned as I managed to get pregnant whilst in Australia. Travel was always put on a back burner once I was home as adapting to being a single teen mum was my priority and I never had the money to travel unless you count Butlins Minehead or a day trip to Weston-Super-Mare!
I never really thought about travelling much as I was far too busy with work and raising my wonderful little boy who was then and is still now an absolute joy. I have worked in education settings – schools and colleges for the past 15 years. The last few years I have worked in the special educational needs field, working directly with young people aged 11-25. It is a area that I feel very passionate about for various reasons. I am also a fully qualified Holistic Therapist – Aromatherapy, Body Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and Reiki. The most adventurist trip I have experienced most recently was the Shambala Festival 2019. 4 days in a hobbit hut, not my thing at all and don’t get me started on the compost toilets. IBS and queueing for compost toilets are not a good combination especially after a spicy Vegan curry! (ha ha).
Finding Love 2nd Time Around
I went on to marry and had my daughter (Teanna) in 2002. After my divorce I wasn’t really looking for love but via Facebook got in contact with an old friend who I knew back in 1996. So I ended up marrying my best friend in 2015 outside the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. I am so lucky to live a simple happy life with my soulmate. Life is so much FUN with hubby and he makes me laugh on a daily basis. I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together exploring beautiful Portugal. Road trips with him are the best ever. Vegas became a special place for us and we revisited 4 times. We are not big gamblers or drinkers but there is so much more to do in Vegas like the epic shows, beautiful hotels with stunning pools, lazy rivers and the Grand Canyon is a must. I will move on to the Intro now as this is starting to sound like a Vegas blog – (ha ha).
Living the Dream
We are living the dream life here in Portugal and have embarked on so many breathtaking adventures together. Here I am embracing life at nearly 50 and dragging hubby on our next adventure – literally (ha ha).