OMG Hubby has deserted me and left me! Don’t panic, he’s on a last minute London business trip. He’s coming back (I hope) because I’m a total catch (obviously) and he can’t live without me or my hilarious perky presence (ha ha). We had no plans to return to the UK again in 2023 as I had already visited for my 49th Birthday back in March and we both returned in July/Aug for my daughters graduation and to celebrate my son’s 30th Birthday. Hubby’s employment requested that he attend an important meeting in the London office as all the team were going to be present. It was really short notice as he was only notified on the Monday about the meeting on Thursday! This was actually a good thing as I suffer with anxiety and if I knew he were leaving me to defend by myself I would have stressed about it for ages. It transpired that I didn’t have time to worry myself senseless because we only had 3 short days to plan his trip so by the time we had sorted the flights, parking and hotel, he was off and soaring the bright blue sky amongst the fluffy clouds. Initially he was going to travel by public transport but that is 2 buses and a train then a metro so we decided the best option would be to take our old banger of a car and pray it made it as it was more convenient and hubby’s company were paying expenses. I did try to reach out to folk who might be travelling in the same direction via local Facebook groups to see if we could find someone to share the ride and petrol costs but I think it was just too short notice. I like to be as frugal as I can be and if I can help a fellow person out by offering a ride then why not, sharing is caring.

I was a little nervous about hubby deserting me again as I caused mayhem last time. Hopefully he won’t get a better offer and he will return home safe and sound. I’m not panicking because he’s coming back (I hope) because I’m a total catch (obviously) and he can’t live without me or my hilarious perky presence (ha ha). I’ve requested that he bring me back a Christmas Pudding and party crackers from his business trip to London. I kept to my normal routine of chilling with my precious pets, jogging, gardening and obviously dancing, swirling and twirling in my little oasis of a garden. Hubby was a trooper and bagged up ingredients in the freezer for my daily fig and banana protein smoothies for one. He also pre-cooked 2 veggie chillies and rice so I had my dinners already prepared, God bless him (Our Casa Valhal Resident Chef). He also made sure I was stocked up on my strong Portuguese coffee, he’s a keeper for sure. I don’t usually watch TV here in Portugal. We have a Meo TV box with basic channels but I never watch it just Netflix. Before hubby left we watched a few shows together including Dear Child, Who is Erin Carter, Ragnarok and Top Boy. I decided to catch up on the what I call trashy TV and guilty pleasure shows as I know damn well that hubby would rather poke his eye out with a plastic daffodil than watch these shows (ha ha). I got through the whole new series of both Sweet Magnolias and Virgin River. OMG what a load of soppy shite! (ha ha). I have OCD so it is very difficult for me not to watch a new series of a show when it is released if I have already committed myself to watch the previous seasons. I have given up on some including Lupin. The only reason I watch Virgin River is for the sensational scenery. Those mountain and river views are breathtaking and I was shocked to find out that it’s actually filed in Vancouver and British Columbia and not California as it portrays in the show.

I love the fact how I prefer a TV series over films. I don’t have the patience to watch a 90 min film but I can easily watch 3 or 4 45 min episodes of a TV show (ha ha). With films we have a 10 min tolerance rule. I commit for 10 mins then if it’s crap we turn it off. The main reason for this is we get a lot of foreign rubbish with really badly dubbed over English accents. I have noticed that we get different Netflix shows from the UK which is a shame. I’m not actually that bothered as during the Summer months I have a routine where I spend a lot of time gardening and chilling with my chickens and by the time I have showered it is 7pm and time for a coffee and banana snack before our 9pm dinner. I know, we eat dinner really late but it works for us as we don’t have lunch until after 3pm. I don’t fall for all the diet hype about how it’s bad to consume food after 6pm. In my eyes as long as you eat the same amount of food and calories in a day, it doesn’t matter when you eat them. I just try to avoid coffee (caffeine) after 7pm otherwise I’m up all night and I suffer from insomnia anyway due to chronic pain.

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to Work we Go

You may be 30,000 ft above the ground, but you’re always in my heart!

Geriatric Rock Chick

Hubby got a new guitar for his upcoming 50th Birthday so now he has 2 and is going to teach me how to play. Thankfully he has the patience of a Saint, he’s gonna need it (ha ha). If you hear some really bad electric guitar playing echoing off the Serra do Açor mountains and it sounds like it might be coming from the direction of Vinhó, it will be me and it’s likely that I am very drunk as a skunk!

I suggest you stock up on ear plugs, I’m not very talented as a musician unless you count the tambourine (ha ha). I’m trying to self teach myself the song “Words” by Extreme so I can surprise hubby when he returns! It’s not going too well. I think Rock Chick suits me and personally I reckon I deserve to learn on his new expensive guitar because it’s a magical peacock blue colour and matches my dress (ha ha). I think I need a substitute hubby to stand in for the original and bring me my morning coffee. Applicants open to all funny, caring, dark and mysterious men with their own teeth and hair. Must have a zest for life, buckets of patience and a love of crazy chickens and chaos (ha ha).

Never stop learning new things, take on new challenges/experiences and most importantly never ever stop having FUN!

Pet Therapy

I spent a lot of time chilling with my precious pets and trying my best to share my love and cuddles between these cute ass furry and feathered friends. Chilling in my hammock with my hilarious hens is one of my favourite past times and these 3 fur balls bring me instant joy. I did have one disaster, animal related. Either Carol or Michonne have dug a huge hole in their run and I didn’t notice it so when I checked on them one particular evening in the dark with just my phone torch to lead the way, I nearly fell down the deep dark hole and injured myself. I’m lucky I didn’t break my bloody ankle. Neither of them will own up to digging the hole worthy of a Prison Break film (ha ha). Animals are the best ever therapy, the magical power of pets is simply wonderful.

Exercise Routine

I kept up my regular exercise routine whilst hubby was absent. I don’t want him returning to a flabby hot mess, just a hot mess (ha ha). Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. 

A Certain Blue Enters your Soul

I’m colour coordinating with the clouds! Blue is definitely my colour.

Gardening Goddess

The Bristolian Broccoli Babe spent her time melting in the heat! At least I had my trusty sexy reversible €1 bucket hat for shade (ha ha).

Night Time Fig Looting

In all honesty it was light when I started climbing up the tree! Don’t tell hubby I climbed up a ladder without his supervision (ha ha).

Tiago the Toad

There was a lot of Toad Patrol in hubby’s absence. My nighttime ritual is checking on on Tiago and his mates.

Ride it like you Stole it 

Hubby loves cycling, he’s a mid life cyclist and owns 2 bikes (ha ha). I on the other hand can’t ride a bike as I have no coccyx, it’s a long painful story! Whilst the cat is away the mouse will play (ha ha). I decided I would have a go at riding one of his bikes and if it isn’t too painful I could explore options of purchasing a special adapted saddle. The bike in question was donated to hubby from a female pro athlete so one would think that it would be a suitable size for me but I was wrong so very wrong. I’m obviously a short ass as I struggled to reach the pedals even with the seat completely lowered.

I gave it my best shot but it was a massive fail. I made it about an arms length before I fell off. No major injuries but I did moderately hurt my fanny in the process (ha ha). I think I need some stabilisers/training wheels as I’m clearly unbalanced in more ways than one (ha ha). There are two kinds of riders: Those who have crashed and those who will (ha ha). I am mildly gutted as I really wanted to share hubby’s hobby and glide down the mountains with him. You live and learn my friends, moral of the story is, know your limits! I think I will stick to jogging in the future. I’m off to ice my lady bits (freeze my fanny) and there is always hope, a tandem bicycle made for two (ha ha).

Bike for Helena

I honestly think that I am way more suited to stationary bikes like these hidden gems (ha ha).

Granfondo Grandad

This is how it’s done! 3 cheers for hubby, the Granfondo Grandad Hero.

Red Hot Chilli Momma

With hubby away he has left me in charge of looking after his precious Chillies. I’m watering them randomly, talking to them daily and praying like a nun that I don’t kill them before he returns (ha ha). The clouds are awesome!

Chilli LOVE

The Original Spice Girl

I am officially the Original Spice Girl: Old Spice (ha ha). Does anyone remember the men’s potent cologne named “Old Spice?” it was designed to be all fresh, warm and spicy but it smelt so bad. It was cheap as chips so as a child in the 80’s I always used to save my pocket money up and buy my Dad an Old Spice Soap on a Rope for Christmas (ha ha). Soap on a rope! I have no idea what that is all about but I think if I searched Dad’s home now I would likely find a drawer full of Old Spice soap on a rope novelty gifts (ha ha). Awesome childhood fond memories to cherish!

Size Doesn’t Matter

Apparently size doesn’t matter but let us stop what we are doing for a moment in time and appreciate this Whopper of a Chilli!

Dancing Sunflower

After the gardening comes the dancing in my garden and party for one because it’s too beautiful to stay indoors. I’m trying to grasp on to the last of Summer and the sensational sunshine.

“Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer Lovin’, happened so fast.”

Teamwork begins by Building Trust

The all important last minute business trip turned out to be an incredible team building/bonding experience complete with an adrenaline fueled game of Paint Ball followed by pizza and beer, how awesome! The only negative was the fact that after a bumpy flight and short delay on his outbound journey the plane then had issues opening the doors so he didn’t get to his hotel room until 1am. there was also a bloke sat next to him who immediately fell asleep, snored continuously and had a rather evil potent flatulence problem to the point where hubby felt quite nauseous and he has a stomach made of steel (ha ha).

After an early start the next day to travel to a meeting point (train station), the group headed off on their day trip to Reading but unfortunately the train they were travelling on had a major incident and long delay. Hubby later found out that someone had jumped in front of the train and committed suicide. How awful and so very sad for all involved especially the poor driver of the train. Apparently if you are a driver of a train and 3 fatal jumpers die in front of your vehicle, you get to retire on medical grounds and full pension. I am not sure if this is true or not and I have a feeling it could be a total myth. I feel it is more likely that compensation would be paid from the Criminal Compensation payment scheme compensating for lost wages/overtime etc. No amount of money could ever equal such trauma. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma of witnessing such an event. Totally devastating for all involved. On a lighter note, hubby has returned home a little worse for wear, with a few paint ball bruises on his chest. Who knew such a game could result in such brutality (ha ha). Here are a few photos and my blurry man in action sprinting for cover in the magical forest (ha ha).

Gifts Galore

The man of the house came baring glorious gifts for Helena. I requested that hubby purchase me a few gifts including a Christmas pudding and Christmas crackers. The novelty ones that you pull with a BANG, not the edible Jacob cream crackers, although I am quite partial to a cracker with cheddar cheese and a smidgen of Branston pickle (ha ha). The man did good and did not disappoint. Unfortunately he could not source the pudding or crackers due to his time frame as he only managed to visit one supermarket but I received the following substitute gifts: Duty free pineapple rum, Birds custard, Robinsons mini squash, Paxo stuffing, Bisto gravy, Pringles, Tik Tac’s and my favourite facial wash. He also bought a tub of Cadbury Roses chocolates for our lovely neighbour for Christmas. I know I mentioned the dreaded C word! I love Christmas but I’m battling the fight to keep Christmas in December. I don’t want to see merchandise in shops in September or October! I like Marmite but it’s ridiculously expensive here in Portugal. It’s like gold dust and very valuable as a trading weapon so I told him to buy a few. I sound like I am in a prison swapping rare commissary items (ha ha). Hubby bought back X3 jars and I’m hoping to do some friendly swaps for eggs, bread, fruit, veg or homemade cakes/biscuits. Apparently I am a lot like marmite. You either Love me or you Hate me (ha ha). I am so glad to have my soulmate back by my side. I’m off to crack open the Duty Free pineapple rum, cheers me dears!

The Black Market

Hubby dislikes Marmite and 3 jars is a lot of the liquid black stuff to get through all by myself so I decided to trade a jar or two. I have already successfully swapped 1 jar for a dozen free range eggs and a kg of parsnips. I have a grand parsnip plan of parboiling the veg and freezing them so I can enjoy honey roasted parsnips on my Christmas dinner. One egg broke on the car journey home but frugal me made myself a yummy omelet for lunch, waste not want not. I love our little village community spirit, it’s so refreshing. Remember folk, sharing is caring.

Teeny Tiny Tik Tac’s

OMG how adorable are the Tik Tac’s hubby purchased at the airport Duty Free. So damn cute!

The Drug Mule Chicken AKA Chickdora the Explorer

I stashed a tiny little fluffy yellow chicken in the side pocket of hubby’s suitcase to make him smile when he finds it at his London hotel. The chicken in question is wearing an Easter bonnet and looks a lot like me (ha ha). I’m just hoping he doesn’t locate it at the airport security as he might think someone has stashed some drugs up the chicken’s ass (ha ha). The chicken is so very small that amount of drugs would not be enough to get a mouse high as a kite let alone a human so I think I am safe in my mastermind mission to make hubby smile. Here is Chickdora the Explorer on hubby’s hotel bed (ha ha).

Where there is Rum, there is Fun

After a chilled day of gardening and relaxing in my hammock I cracked open the Duty Free Pineapple Rum! Life is short so take every opportunity to have Fun in the Sun. Gosh it’s still really hot, way too hot for jeans. Although they do have rips for air vents just not in the right places that I want a waft of breeze (ha ha). I might get a pair of scissors and transform them into shorts. If I cut them wonky as a donkey in a drunken stupor it doesn’t matter as they only cost €2.99, what can I say, I’m a cheap lass with even cheaper tastes (ha ha).

Have a glass of rum and see what you’ll become (ha ha).


Guess what guys? I survived another Flying Solo extravaganza! I think I only managed because it was just a short couple of days this time. In total he was only gone 48 hours! Any longer and I’m sure I would have broken a leg or lost a chicken or two (ha ha). I do rely on hubby for lots of things but I am pretty self sufficient and manage fine by myself. Multiple years of being a single parent and raising 2 kids single handed has taught me valuable life skills and that if you want something done then to do it yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I did miss hubby immensely as we have a right laugh and the house was eerily quiet without him here. It’s just nice to know that I am capable of managing the challenges of life all by myself. Not that there are many challenges here in Portugal. I’m still living the dream with the enthusiasm of a 20 year old and a huge smile on my face (ha ha).

Being comfortable on your own is a Superpower.


Everything was going hunky dory then a couple of days after hubby returning home we both tested positive for Covid! Needless to say the brown stuff hit the fan and I’m not talking about the Marmite! All hell broke loose in the Casa Valhal household. My Covid Experience blog post coming soon. It is pure HELL and a horrendous experience, one I would not wish upon my worst enemy!