48 hours in Portugal with Mama Bear

Originally born and bred in Mozambique , my mum’s sister was coming to Portugal for a holiday. Being only a 3 hour plane flight away from us, she asked mum to ‘pop’ over to see her. Mum has alot of commitments, and therefore doesn’t actually go out much at all. My grannie being the age of 93 and visually impaired requires 24 hour assistance, and dad and mum’s lives rotate around her and her needs.

Dad mentioned to me that mum needs time out- and this was the perfect opportunity for me to take her.

Sorting all my own responsibilities at home- I got the hubby to look for flights for a weekend away to Portugal for me and mum whilst my aunt was there. Accomodation wise I was advised that my aunt was renting a 2 bed apartment in the city of “Odivelas” and that the 2nd bedroom was free for us to use.

Mum’s Younger Sister

We booked our flight with easyJet for £69 return and jetted off. There was alot I wanted to do and see in Portugal. I have never been before- but this trip was purely for mum- I had told myself that on this trip to do everything mum wanted regardless of how I felt as she’s never really given that opportunity at home, also I hardly get to spend time with her myself as she’s always busy running around after the family. This trip was for her.

So we had 48 hours in Portugal, what did we do?

Odivelas

The question is of all the cities in Portugal, they chose Odivelas. Why Odivelas?

When the civil war broke out in Mozambique in 1977, my mum’s uncle sought refuge in Portugal, and the town Odivelas. This is where he made his home, and also built a mosque. With the majority of the population of people in Portugal being Christian, and following Catholism this was very challenging, and a very controversial thing to do. Yet he was adamant and pursued. Although her Uncle is no longer here, the mosque still stands, and is a extremely popular in Odivelas. Mum had an ambition to visit it daily, and so did my Aunt. So they chose an apartment round the corner from the mosque so that they could pop in as they willed.

Majid Aishah

The one bad thing about staying in Odivelas is- everywhere you need to go is by car. So be prepared for loads of Uber costs.

1. Pasteis De Belem

Ive always wondered my whole life who I’ve gone after. After I met my Aunt. My question was answered.

All I remember is my Aunt ran out of the moving  car and towards this building in an extremely busy road- nearly got ran over- and left everyone hooting at us because we had to do an emergency stop. We watched her dissapear in the rear view window of the now moving car.

My mum was having a heart attack- whilst I looked at her in Awe. This is something I would do (maybe not in front of my mum but yes) I’d risk it all if I needed to tick something off in my bucket list.

Everyone in Lisbon knows about the ‘natas’ (Portuguese tarts) at this place- and if your not from Lisbon- you’ll know by the queue outside that there is something special about this place.

At one point in the queue I told my aunt to get the ‘natas’ from the bakery nextdoor as we only here for a couple of hours and I really didn’t want to spend half a day in a queue. Let me put it this way- the queues are a testament to the food. It is unbelievably good.

The inside was beautifully decorated. You could tell it was a old building, yet decorated very artisticly. With tiled wall in the colour of the logo. It has tried to keep its originality. The building is made up of interconnected rooms all of which are huge, airy and very spacious. It seats up to 500 people at a go- and still there’s a queue!

We ordered the natas and ‘Bolinhoes de Bacalhau’ basically Codfish cakes. The Bacalhau- dried and salty cod fish is another speciality of Portugal. I don’t think you can go to any Portuguese restaurant and not see Bacalhau in the menu. And the Bacalhau- in Portugal is definately different to the codfish we get here. It’s very rich in taste, and yes you can smell the fishy smell, whilst eating it, but yet it’s very tasty and it is dry! (Hence loads of juices on standby)

The natas with the crispy outer shell, and warm and creamy custard centre were divine, the best I’ve ever had by far.

If you do go here- do make sure you walk around- there’s a little window where you can view the natas coming out of the oven, and being put away. It is said that they sell up to 20,000 natas a day. That’s only natas. They’re menu does have alot more on offer.

I managed to sneak into the kitchen. Here’s a quick glimpse before I got escorted out.

Also this place is the most reviewed place on the internet in Portugal. With trip advisor getting over 10,000 reviews showing that if you haven’t been here whilst in Portugal, you haven’t been in Portugal at all.

And because it was so good. I packed up some natas for all at home.

Monastery of Jerónimos

On the same street as ‘Pasteis De Belem’ further down you will find the Monastery of Jerónimos. A Monastery built in 16th Century, using ‘Manueline Architecture’ which uses palm trees, vegetables, artichokes, ropes and ships in its detailing. The Manueline Architecture is unique to Portugal.

Entry is 10euros, however because of our short stay, we decided not to go in. Being such a tourist area, there are loads of vendors selling stuff, and loads of general touristy things going on, so a stroll here is nice.

Roasted chestnuts
Cute and quirky drinks spots.
picturesque buildings
Beautiful gardens

Costa de Caparica

The Costa de Caparica is a long stretch of beautiful, clean, sandy beach.

Strolls with Mama bear

We sat and watched the surfers, and soaked our feet in the warm salty water. We spent half a day here as it was just beautiful and serene.

Beautiful apartments outside of the beach front shaped as large ships.

Whilst here we ate at the famous

O Barbas

With a beautiful view of the ocean., And known for its fresh food we ordered grilled sardines and (not to forget) Bacalhau.

The Bacalhau- came with boiled potatoes and green beans.
And sardines came with boiled potatoes.
Bread and salads come as standard


The portions were quite large as you can see, and you could smell the freshness of the food. Definately a place to revisit to try other dishes.

Vasco de Gama Bridge

One of the longest bridge in Europe with a length of 12.3km. named after Vasco De Gama – a european sailor who discovered the route between Portugal and India.

It was my aunt’s idea to see the bridge, yet we ended up driving to the other end, here we stopped by ‘Torre de Vasco de Gama’ – basically the “Tower of Vasco De gama’ to drive all the way back. ( Oh. Yes. Sometimes we do the strangest things) .

Torre Vasco De Gama

One of the tallest buildings in Portugal, and also a landmark. At 145 metres tall it’s boasts of it panoramic view of the city, sea and the bridge. Once again named after Vasco De Gama himself.

Outside the Tower.

Shaped as a sail, it’s quite a beautiful building,

Side view with the bridge at the back.

This area is another tourist hotspot, this photo was taken from the aerial cable cars, which can be taken at 4 euros each one way or 6 euros both return. Its a nice ride where you can see the river and scenic views of Portugal.

In this area you also have the Vasco De Gama shopping mall if you would like a stroll, we gave this a miss due to time constraints. Portugal is known for its unique design in kitchen dishes- so I missed out here.

And that’s our trip. 48 hours in Portugal. The evenings were spent in our apartment where mum and my aunt laughed about their younger days. All in all it was a fabulous trip.

Love and regards

M11bna

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Spontaneous trip to Mani and Cheshire Oaks (Part One)

Sitting peacefully at home, with nothing to do on a Friday evening, Friends series playing on netflix for the umpteenth time, and the hubby shouts out “Get in the car- I need to get out of here!” …. Doesn’t happen to you? No? Weird? Yes? Well he just did that.

Within 20 minutes me and the boys are sitting in the car, one pair of clothes each in plastic bags awaiting our adventure.

I can see we are driving towards the motorway- but where are we going? It’s not my birthday, it’s not an anniversary- not the boys birthday- should I ask?

“Can you check on your phone if they have a room at Ellesmere port babe?for tonight”

Oh. So it is a random trip. Nothing planned.

I fish out my phone and have a look. I know exactly where he wants to go. It’s our favourite Christmas spot for shopping in Manchester, and it’s the Holiday Inn at Ellesmere port. And he wants to go in October?! Ok. I’m not complaining. (I hope our December trip is still on?)

There’s a double room available for tonight for £105 and that includes brekky. Perfecto. I pull out my Amex and start punching in the numbers.

By the time we reached its well past midnight.  We hit the pillows and snore away.

The Holiday Inn at Ellesme port is our favourite stop spot. We always come to this hotel, rooms are clean and big, and it has a swimming pool (we didn’t take any costume as didn’t know where we were going) and it’s in a beautiful location. Set at the port it’s very scenic

On a beautiful day it’s nice to have a stroll on port

And the main reason we come here is …. The hasbrowns. Yup you heard correct. Hash browns. They are always soooo good! So crunchy yet soft. Oh my! It’s a must (I sound crazy I know- but if you go, try it and tell me!)

By now I’ve worked out the plan. We going Cheshire oaks designer village for a day of shopping. He sure is in a good mood.

I’m wondering whether it was a good idea to wear these 🙄. Too late.

So after indulging with our tea and hash brown with brown sauce overload, the hubby took raisins and sat down, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him eat raisins? I asked him “since when do you eat raisins?” He answered ” I do eat raisins.”

No. Can’t be true, I don’t eat raisins- I’ve not bought raisins in the 18 years I’ve been married to him, so I just watched him eat in wonder. He eats raisins. Evan after 18 years I’m learning something new.

Stay tuned for our day at Cheshire oaks what we bought and what we ate.

Love and regards

M11bna

P.s. Still struggling with the tooth! And I’m in India!! Loads to come

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What does your Fridge say about you?

The way you decorate your home says alot about you, it shows your style, it shows your personality, and it’s an expression of yourself.

This can also be said for the way you dress, how you dress, what you choose to wear can be a reflection of yourself, it can be a reflection of your mood, determine where you are going….etc

But It is your fridge that holds your unconscious secrets. Okay I’m being a bit *dramatic* by saying ‘unconscious secrets’ but I have to grab your attention somehow.

And I’m not talking about what’s inside the fridge- all you’ll find in my fridge is drinks- (I’m a sweet tooth- fizzy drink junkie.). I’m talking about the door, what we put on there can give an insight into your soul. (There’s the drama again!)

What do you put on your fridge?

Apart from the built in fridges- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fridge that has nothing on it.

There is a saying somewhere (in Google) that says that ” your fridge door, reflects the way you really want to live, compared to what you are living in now” and that it is all done in the unconscious part of the brain. I’m not sure how much of this is true, as I’m sure fridge magnets were not a thing when Sigmund Freud was alive, but it did intrigue me to get thinking about it.

So the first thing I did is look at my fridge.

Clustered with appointment letters, dentist dates, shopping list, to photos and fridge magnets.

Sounds normal and just about right? Yes? No?

This got me thinking about what I choose to put on my fridge, I have a American size fridge (why do they call it that? What is British sized?) And in all fairness, considering the space- it’s not cluttered. (I had a look on Google images of people’s fridge doors. Have a look. It’s quite intriguing) .

My shopping list:

I have a magnetic board (it’s very worn down now- pen still works after years- but I do need to invest in a new one) and it’s used by everyone in the family- to add on what they’d like or what we have run out off. Before my shopping trips- I have a quick look and memorise – and rub off once it’s been bought. It’s amazing how this is the only pen that stays where it is. All other pens dissapear.

Appointments

Letters and appointment dates are put on fridge, to serve as a remainder. It could be said that the fridge door serves as a diary without the use of a diary itself (I love diaries- but if I have a letter- I hardly ever note it down in diary)

Fridge Magnets

I only have a couple. When we go on holiday- isn’t this like the cheapest and smallest thing to pick up? Just to serve as a memory?

Rock Magnets

This was given to me by my friend and I love them. All letters get pinned down with this, and they look fab and stylish

So nothing seems so hidden and deep in my conscious yet… Untill…

Photos

The most important thing for me.  If you make it on my fridge door. You are a different kind of special. Yes I’m selective about what goes on and who goes on. Who I want to see daily, and what memories will live forever. I only have a few. But they are the most important. (I just realised hubby is not on my fridge!!!- sorry Dude. I have you next to me in life. That means more.*wink wink)

Talking about magnets my latest ones are from photobox and it was £8.99 for 9 magnets. And they are the cutest. I made them for me and a few friends hence why they are the same….. I’ll have to check their fridge when I next pop over to see if I made it on their fridge. (*rolls eye*)

And the middle picture is one more that made it to my fridge.

Have a look at your fridge, and see what it conjures up for you.

Share your thoughts.

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Love and regards

M11bna

Barca in Pictures

Since I’m in this whole Barcelona mood, I keep finding pictures on top of pictures I’ve captured, and I need to share them with someone , and you guys happen to be the lucky ones.

Just a few pics I’ve taken from my gallery for you to enjoy.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.
Whilst driving around. Too preety not to capture.
Arc de Triomf
Beautiful lampposts
Beautiful buildings with balconies.
Love the minaret on this building
La Sagrada Familia
This looked too good not to capture
Port.
Had to capture this whilst walking past

It is a picturesque city, I have so many more- but I don’t want to loose followers.

Hope you enjoyed them.

That’s enough of Barca. (I think) time to move on…

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Love and regards

M11bna