Monday, 14 April 2014

Holiday Zen

I'm back. It's been a while, I know. We returned home last night after 10 days in a wifi free villa in the Algarve region of Portugal. The weather was utterly glorious - 23 to 25 degrees C every day. We ate well, drank well (Portuguese wine is utterly delicious - who knew) and best of all spent day after day just the four of us together, our little family, my favourite people.

It's a funny old place the Algarve. As you would probably imagine most of the towns are pretty overdeveloped with
row after row of holiday villas on every hillside. But when you venture just five minutes out you encounter lush countryside, field upon field of orange groves and breathtaking secluded beaches. 

Oh, the beaches...

So, I did a lot of lying in the sun reading (Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall if you're wondering - incredible) whilst the children splashed in the pool. Long hazy days were followed by evenings all snuggled on the sofa watching kids films or playing board games as a family (Monopoly brings out a killer instinct in Master Wren that I never knew he had - terrifying!). This probably sounds like the height of tedium to some people, but to me it was utterly joyful.

As much as I enjoy indulging on holiday (and it really isn't a holiday without a lot of it) I hate that feeling of overindulgence that usually accompanies it, especially when I have to wear a bikini everyday. So to keep things in check (sort of - wine with lunch, restaurant dinners and daily visits to the ice cream parlour notwithstanding) most days, I partook of a little yoga in the sun. Now I'm no master yogi, but I'm partial to a bit of downward dog (behave) so I downloaded an app to my iPad. It's called Yoga Studio and it was great - it has routines lasting from 15 minutes to an hour for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. I found the intermediate ones tough but achievable and I even got Mr Wren doing some of the beginner routines which were simpler but still challenging. The Wren recommends - great for when you can't get to a class or just for a little holiday zen.

My lowlight 

A theme park called Zoomarine, which, apart from a great 30 minute dolphin show is a bit of a dump, to be honest. £50 for a family? Rip. Off. Plus it was filled with British holidaymakers walking around shirtless and beer bellied - I know you're on holiday, but put it away and save it for the beach. Miss Wren whispered to me at one point "why do all these people have no tops on?" Quite. 

My highlights  

Eating fresh, crispy fried Calimares whilst overlooking the sea.

I picked up a gorgeous beach bag - so useful and sparkly

The colours - azure blue paint on doors and windows of a pure white house, brightly splashed fishing boats abandoned on beachfronts.

The smell - walking through Carvoiero, where we stayed, the air was thick with the heady scent of orange blossom. Divine and unexpected.

Did I mention the beaches?

And the sun's been shining all day here today too. Bliss. Just bliss.


  1. Looks like you had an amazing time. I can't wait to sit in the sunshine eating calamari with a glass of wine! X

  2. It was so relaxing. And for 'glass of wine' read 'half a bottle'!