About Me

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Hello and welcome to my blog.  I moved to Portugal in December 2012 with my husband, eight year old son and thirteen year old daughter.  We brought the dog along too.  Why Portugal?

After several years as a picture researcher I cut my career short by having two gorgeous children and moved out from London to Cambridgeshire. Life was fairly idyllic if thrifty, with an orchard, a homemade tree house, lots of pet ducks, guinea pigs, an attempt at gardening which mainly fed the snails and a dog from the animal shelter.

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Fitting around the kids when they were little I temped, researched, crafted jewellery, did evening wear alterations, wrote and made short films, ran craft fairs, film festivals and a business promoting local food. Life was never dull.  Finally, once they were older, I settled down to a nine to five job as a Publishing Assistant with Cambridge University Press.  When we sold our home to get a desperately needed extra bedroom, it seemed like the right time to head out for some sunshine, buy a farm, a pony, some goats, lose the mortgage.

We’d already spent six months in Spain when my daughter was seven and we all loved the experience.  I’d spent a year in Sydney in my twenties and had gone back and forth before meeting my husband had grounded me in London.  I was ready for another adventure and the family were all in favour.

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We decided France was the perfect place for us.  I love the language, France is stylish, the Charente is sunny. We had a half hearted house hunt in Somerset then booked a place to stay for a few months near La Rochelle in the Charente Maritime in the autumn.  Meanwhile we spent the summer in Portugal while my husband worked in the UK.  The children loved it.  We already had a leaky, tumbledown house there.  They didn’t want to go to France.  We went anyway, had a great time, but we couldn’t give up Portugal and so we returned.

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Why Portugal? I love gardening but only when it’s sunny.  The scenery is beautiful, the people are friendly and generous. I like trying new things, meeting new people. It’s the only having one life thing.

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Why blog?

I want to record stuff and I know I’ll never keep up a diary.  I’ve tried it. I never get past January. I want to share information I find useful and interesting or just for fun.  Good reads, music, cafes, shows, films, restaurants, photos. Locally produced food. Reflect the journey I’m on.  It may even be insightful or thought provoking from time to time.  Because we need to put food on the table I may even shamelessly promote a business one day. Or someone else’s businesses if I truly believe in it.  More importantly I love writing.  Since moving here I’ve published a children’s book.  I’ve a few more up my sleeve, they’re such fun to write and hopefully to read!

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Finally, Portugal’s a fabulous country, there’s so much to share. It is worth my time and investment and so I hope you will think it is worth yours and if you are not already here or have never been, come and see it for yourself.

Obrigada!

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Update: Since writing the above, in 2015 we decided that, while continuing to renovate both houses in Portugal the children needed to be educated in England so I am currently based in Cambridge during term time.

More about that in a blog…here.   This will lead you to Scentvintage Cambridge.

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15 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi,been reading your blog – ‘WOW’ – sounds fab ( im jealous ).
    Hope you are all well – drop us a line if you get chance x

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  2. Hi, I found your blog via ‘iGameMom’. We live in rural Spain and some of your experiences chime with ours! Check out my blog at ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’. Hasta luego!

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  3. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’ll be following your sun-soaked adventures from now on – winter’s coming here and it’s going to be a long one! I need someone to live vicariously through! Linda.

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  4. Thank you so much for putting my work on your page it was a lovely surprise. I’m really pleased so I can now have a nosey at your blog, sounds like you are all having a wonderful time. Good bye from a wet and windy Offord. xx

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  5. Are you still there? Me and my partner Andrew are in process of selling english property to move to central portugal from March 2016 but its taken ages. We are debating how best to get there fly with suitcase and store stuff or get a van. We have not much stuff and I am not sentimental but we are still debating about our cat. Hearing horror stories of hunting dogs or feral dogs + he is a white cat. Hope you are enjoying there is so much i look forward too coming to rent then buy there.

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    • We still have both houses in Portugal; it’s taking a long time to do them up but due to the schools we are in the UK during term time now although my husband is often still in Portugal looking after the houses. I hope you have found a good place, it’s the best idea to rent first and try out areas. We stored stuff in England but it was so costly we got it moved to Portugal as soon as we could. Let me know how you get on and what area you move to.

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  6. I love your blog – we are thinking of moving abroad with our 5 and 7 year old – how did you find the schooling there

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    • Actually we’ve come back because the schooling didn’t work for us at the local schools although we still have the houses. It was easiest for my eldest daughter but my ten year old son struggled although your children are younger so may integrate more easily. It depends on the school, the teacher, facilities are much more basic and my son was bullied. However I would thoroughly recommend Clic International School at Matinha Grande which my daughter attended for a while.

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      • Hi Alicia, I’m sorry to hear your son was bullied, this is something I worry about – suppose not just in the UK but more so abroad. Was it a state school that your son went to, did they pick up the language easily – I can’t speak Portuguese so I would be of no help to them. I guess I am trying to see if Spain or Portugal are where we want to move to, but subject to whether education is good or not overly expensive compared to the UK

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  7. My son went to two different state schools in Portugal and was bullied at both. The teacher was lovely at one and not very caring at the other, however both schools provided free one-to-one Portuguese lessons which they will get in Spain too. My daughter has got a Portuguese GCSE back in England out of it but neither came back fluent as I’d hoped. The international school was half the price of a run-of-the mill English private school and although the Portuguese girls didn’t mix with the international students she made some good international friends. Portuguese is much harder than Spanish. We were in Spain for six months when my daughter was seven. The teaching and schools in the state schools were similar, small village schools with maybe a dozen in each year and lots of concrete. They have to pass an end of year exam to go up to the next year. if you choose an international School in Portugal watch out for motorway tolls getting them there and move close by, it was equal to the school fees hence the move to the state sector.

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