Lilly & Pierre’s Lisbon Adventure

So off we went to Lisbon! we had never been there before and we were looking forward so much to visiting a new city.  The trip didn’t start too well though, our flight to London Heathrow was delayed 45 minutes, we then had to change terminals and go through another security search, which was so backed up we missed our flight to Lisbon!  I must say I think Heathrow is absolutely horrible to transit through, the staff on the security search are so rude, the seem to deliberately move at a snails pace, the more people complained, the worse their attitude.  I am all for high security, that was not the issue, it was the appalling treatment of the passengers, and their seeming delight that they were causing people to miss flights, that area of Heathrow need a huge overhaul, Pierre flatly refuses to go through Heathrow ever again, and I can’t really blame him.  So we made our way to the British Airways desk and the agent was just lovely, she got us on the last flight out, landing in Lisbon at 11pm, since we had a 5 hour wait, she kindly let us use the Executive Club, so we enjoyed free food and an open bar, it certainly helped the situation!.  We finally got to our hotel in Lisbon at just after midnight, The Sheraton, and the place was buzzing! the staff greeted us so warmly and told us there was live music in the rooftop bar until 1.30am! Lisbon is definitely a place with a huge nighttime culture, as the taxi was driving us to the hotel we noticed traffic jams, at midnight!.

So after finally getting to bed at 1.30am, we woke up the next day in Lisbon! We had 4 full days ahead of us with no where to be and nothing to do! We spent each morning exploring this wonderful city, we loved the Praxo do Comercia, which is the main square at the waterside, we particularly enjoyed having lunch at the Museum of Beer and also Rib, all on the square, lovely food and very reasonable prices.  Indeed Lisbon is very cheap, a 15 minute taxi ride is only 6 euros, a good glass of wine is only 4 or 5 euros, we bought some wine and beer at the supermarket for the hotel room and wine was cheaper than water!

Praxo do Comercia

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Museum of Beer bar & restaurant

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We explored all the streets leading down to the square, lots of lovely shops, tons of restaurants of every kind, street performers, it really is a fun and exciting and very vibrant city, the people are extremely friendly and most of all you feel very safe here.

One of our favourite things was the tram ride up towards to castle.  We were trying to fathom out how to buy a ticket, but you can just pay when you get on, 3 euros per person, each time you board, so if you get off, you pay when you get on again.  A lovely chap, who was trying to sell us a tour on his Tuk-tuk, of which there are endless amounts of!, advised us not to wait in the very long queue for the famous Tram 28, but to take Tram 12, it’s a shorter tour but you see nicer views, he was right, there was hardly any queue and off we went, we got off at Alfama, a lovely little spot with great views, restaurants and little shops, lovely garden areas and you can walk to the Castle from there.

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Alfama

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Just as we decided to take a taxi back down, Tram 28 stopped almost in front of us, so we hopped on and enjoyed a very scenic 20 minute ride back down the hill, I highly recommend trying the tram, it was so much fun!.

We usually went back to the hotel after lunch and relaxed by the pool for a couple of hours before getting ready to go out to dinner.  I researched restaurants around the area of the Sheraton and we ate at two fantastic places and one rip off horrible place.  We loved the Maracana restaurant, we ate the best grouper ever! we also loved Il Giardinetto, which was an excellent Italian place and very cheap!  The place we had the worst experience was called Cisterna Restaurant, which was so odd it’s going to get it’s own blog – coming shortly!

Il Giardinetto

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Something we also like to do is find out where the top place is and go and have a cocktail, as it happened the Panorama bar and restaurant is located on the rooftop floor of the Sheraton Hotel! Words can hardly explain the beyond magnificent view of all of Lisbon, right down to the water! The delicious wines were 8 euros a glass, obviously!, but they serve a little tray of snacks, the chairs are so comfortable and the view is unmissable.
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Finally, the last place I want to tell you about is the Time Out Market.  This is an exciting, fun place, there are dozens of food vendors, we ate the cod fish cakes and tried the famous local pastry – Pastel de Nata (Custard Tart) – literally melts in your mouth!  There is a full market at the side of the food area, plus other types of vendors.  The chefs cook in front of you and you can either sit at the counters of the stalls or in the central bench area.
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In all we adored Lisbon and would return anytime and hopefully soon!

Happy Travels my lovely readers.  xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly & Pierre’s California Adventure

When I was ten years old my parents took us to California on holiday.  I fell in love! Ever since then I have longed to return, but over the years I ended up spending time working in Florida, so I forgot how much I had loved California.  Last month my lovely Husband retired and I have suggested we take a dream trip next year.  Ideally I would like to fly to San Diego, then take some time travelling as far up as Santa Barbara.  I think three weeks would be nice, it’s along flight from the UK, eighteen hours, so I am now enjoying planning this adventure.  I’m really excited to be going back! I have been pouring over maps, looking at all the cute coastal places along the Pacific Coast Highway.  We don’t want a manic trip of a different town each day, we want to take our time at the beauty spots, my thinking is that we stay four nights per area, that way we can immerse a little in the culture and people.

I definitely want to go to La Jolla, Carmel, Big Sur, Malibu, Long Beach, and Santa Barbara.

So my lovely readers, perhaps you can give me tips, suggestions and ideas, for hotels, restaurants and anything you think I should know for our dream trip!

Thanking you in advance!

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Newport Beach

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La Jolla

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Santa Barbara

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Carmel

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Malibu

Not Worth A Life

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Flight attendants are trained to evacuate a fully loaded aircraft in less than 90 seconds using half the exits. That is the MAXIMUM amount of time before toxic fumes and flames overcome the cabin of a burning airliner making escape impossible.

Red indicates the seats in which the fatalites occurred in this disaster. Witnesses state that there was a pile up in the aisle behind passengers around row 10 who tried to collect their personal belongings from the overhead compartments, costing precious time.

The lone figure in the tail is Maxim, the 22 year old hero steward who is credited with saving many people by pushing them through the smoke and flames when his doors could not be opened. There are many photographs of surviving passengers on the tarmac with luggage. Each one of those suitcases may represent a human life in exchange.

There is NOTHING so important that it cannot be replaced.

Please remember, your life is far more important than a suitcase, and NOT the only one on that burning aircraft.

Fly safe.

What Makes You Happy?

Take as moment and just think about it.

When you remember the things that make you happy, you’ll smile, which is so good for your soul and your heart.  Smiling boosts your mood, it lowers your blood pressure, relieves stress and if you do it often enough it can lead to better health and a longer life.

My Husband is number one on my list, we have been together for over 23 years and he is my best friend.  My home and my garden make me happy, also my close friends, but you must not forget the things that you take for granted, for instance good health.  My late Mum always said ‘If you have your health, you have everything’, what incredibly wise words.

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My amazing Mum.

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My lovely Husband (& me!).

So my dear readers, remember what makes you happy, smile often and enjoy your lives to the full, look after yourselves – and each other. xx

 

 

Take Your Time

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Such a wise and thought provoking quote.  But it’s easier said than done to let go, however, lately I have been doing exactly that.

Three awful things have happened to me in the last four years.  I lost my beautiful, kind Mum to Cancer, immediately after her death my father moved in with another woman I had never even heard of and around all this I discovered my Sister was exactly the monster I suspected she may be.

I went through so many emotions, all at the same time, anger, bitterness, disgust, sadness and a feeling that my world was crumbling around me.  My Husband was amazing, but this led my thoughts to fear, If anything happened to him, I would truly have no one, I would be alone in the world.  It’s not true of course, I have a small circle of life long friends that are as good as family, but when you are in crisis, you spiral.

I did dig my way out, over time, with support, I also remembered I had a spine, so being spineless was a waste of time.  Now I am content, I feel safe and happy and loved, for which I am eternally grateful.  To all you dear people out there, please remember you are not alone, if no one else, you have me.

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The Rustic Dinner Party

I was reminiscing with my Husband Pierre at the weekend and we were reminded of a hilarious evening we had a few years ago when we were invited to a dinner party.

This is how the evening went:

We arrived a mere five minutes early, we were greeted by the host and informed that his wife was still in the bath.  He then started faffing on in the kitchen, without offering us a drink, even though we had arrived with wine (and flowers).  Thirty minutes later his wife came down, she apologised for not being there to greet us, but she had suffered an extremely stressful day, she did not elaborate.   I asked if we were early and we were told no, but the other three couples were always late.  Eventually we were offered a drink, I asked for white wine with ice, there was no ice and the white wine wasn’t chilled.  Pierre asked for a beer, there wasn’t any, so he asked for red wine, the host went to the fridge and brought out the red wine.  The white wine was on a table next to the radiator, which was full on.

I asked if I could help with anything, as one does in these situations, the hostess directed me to the fridge and asked me to make the starters!.  I did as I was told and created smoked salmon, with shrimp, salad and dressing, this took almost half an hour, just as I finished the other guests arrived.

Eventually we were directed to the dining room, the dining table was sort of set and had burned out tealights all over it, there was an ironing board leaning up against the chairs and there was an iron on the sideboard, oh and not enough chairs for the amount of guests!  It gets worse…. really!

So the starters went down well (!) and the main course eventually arrived an hour later, we were served chicken breast stuffed with cheese and sundried tomatoes, yummy I thought, until all discovered it was still raw, so therefore it had to go back in the oven and we were told just to dig in to the veg.  Half an hour later back it came, as people started eating it, one guest started coughing and spat out half a cocktail stick.  It turned out the host and pinned the chicken together with cocktail sticks and then broken off the top so that the sticks wouldn’t be on show!  It’s a miracle nobody died, by this time I had the paramedics phone number loaded into my speed dial.

Eventually it was time for dessert, the hostess appeared with two cakes in the supermarket boxes and began unboxing them at the table, she reminded her husband not to forget the cheese, so he reached down to the floor, under the table, next to his feet and started bringing up pieces of cheese (still wrapped, phew !), explaining he was next to the radiator and he wanted them at room temperature.  Pierre and I didn’t indulge in the cheeseboard that evening.

To top it all off, the other couples were a nightmare.  They were extreme snobs with unbelievably high opinions of themselves, they were stand- offish and all they wanted to talk about was left wing politics, they obviously didn’t like us much and whenever we tried to engage them we were brushed off,  still you can’t be liked by everybody, or indeed anybody at this party!.

Pierre and I both agreed it was probably the worst night out we had ever spent together and we also agreed that we were very happy to make it out alive!.

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My New Butler

My lovely Husband retired two weeks ago.  The reactions from my friends have been hilarious!  I have received stark warnings that vary from people being happy for him, after all he has worked hard all his life, he is 66 years old and his pensions are all sorted, to people telling me my life as I know it will be over!  I have a few friends with retired husbands, these are some of their stories, by way of a warning to me:

  1. A week after my Husband retired he took it upon himself to rearrange all my kitchen cupboards, he was delighted with his days work, I on the other hand couldn’t find a thing for weeks, you can imagine how pleased I was!
  2. My Husband now follows me all over the house, I’m lucky if I have time for a wee without him tracking me down.
  3. I mentioned I felt tired after a busy day at work, my Husband informed me ‘Well we are getting on you know’ ……… I am 53!  He’s lucky he’s not divorced, never mind retired.
  4. He’s always in the house, JUST ALWAYS!

I have to say so far I haven’t had a problem, although we are early on in this, I am still in my early fifties and enjoy my job, so I am not looking to retire yet by any means.  My Husband likes to go hiking, he plays golf, he’s happy to help me out around the house, in fact come next month he’s going to paint all the fences, so far so good! In the meantime I feel like I have gained a Butler! he has cleaned all the windows, cleaned the oven to such perfection it looks brand new, he vacuums the house twice a week, does all the ironing and cleans the shower.  I hope this lasts!

If you ladies have any funny stories about your Husband retiring, I would love to hear them!

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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

I recently read a blog by someone I follow, about recognising the need in yourself to seek help for depression and anxiety.  I realised that I was quite guilty of not doing this after my wonderful Mum passed away.  As I have written in previous blogs, my Father, who had been married to my Mum for 53 years and seemed devoted to her, upon her death, within a week of the funeral, had a new woman in his life.  I call her TBW, That Bloody Woman.  As I have mentioned, sorry to repeat, my Father told a ridiculous amount of lies and tried to cover up his relationship, he tried to explain that he had known this woman for seventeen years by saying they had been colleagues at a charity he had worked at.  Of course it took no time at all to figure out he must have been having a long term affair with her and the minute my Mum passed away she appeared on the scene.   Lets face it, you can’t just magic up a girlfriend out of nowhere.

As you can imagine I was trying to deal with losing my lovely Mum, she was truly my best friend, we were very close, she was such an honest, kind and loving lady, a lady right through to her finger tips too!.   So I was trying to deal with that and then to discover that my Father wasn’t the person I had grown up believing he was, it all got too much.  I didn’t realise I was in such a bad way, I am the sort of person who thinks ‘I’ll feel better tomorrow, just keep going, don’t be weak, you’re not the type to need a counsellor or help for depression’.   But I was exactly that type, we are all that type.  I made it through this terrible period in my life with the help of my amazing Husband, which must have been just as difficult for him, as he adored my Mum.

What I should have done was go to the Doctor and ask to be referred for counselling.  It wasn’t until I was coming through the other side two years later, that I realised what I should have done.

So my lovelies, if you have something awful going on, if you feel all wrong inside, if you are sad all the time, please ask for help, if I had asked for help at the start, I do believe I would have felt better much sooner than the two years it took.  It’s not weak, or shameful, it’s the opposite, it’s smart.  Maybe then, one day in the future, you might be in a position to help others, as I try to do now.

Blessings to you all and much happiness in your lives xxx

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Good Things Do Happen, Believe.

I have a lovely friend called Henry, I have known him for 35 years, we worked together for the airlines back in the day.  Henry is a really lovely person, he has a very dry sense of humour and incredible wit.  After a few years he moved to Amsterdam to work for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, where he lived for several years.  Later he was made redundant and found employment back in the UK with another airline.  His health deteriorated due to diabetes, effecting his eyesight quite badly, eventually he was made redundant again and for many years has been living hand to mouth, picking up work whenever he could.  Last year he had a change in luck, he turned 60 years old and received a letter from a pension fund he signed up for 30 years previously, it turned out he could take a lump sum of £35,000 and also receive a monthly payment.  He also got a new job, working from home on an airline related project.  He continued to have more trouble with the sight in his right eye and then problems started with his left eye also.  He had to take some time off work for treatment and was terrified the company would lay him off.  It turned out they are pretty decent people and did no such thing.  Henrys parents and brother all died many years ago and he only had a cousin left, who passed away in January.  Last week Henry received a letter asking him to attend a Solicitors office.  At this meeting he was told that his cousin Philip had always been fond of him and had left him some money.  Philip had indeed left him some money – £350,000 !  Now Henry will never have to worry about losing his job or home again, Isn’t it wonderful when life turns around for people who really deserve it, restores your faith in this world.

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An Inspirational Country

One of my lovely followers just posted a blog, she is based in New Zealand, her blog is NoWineImFine.  She wrote of the recent terrorist atrocity that happened in New Zealand this week.  I was so touched by her article.

Here in the UK we have been devastated by the events in that beautiful and peaceful part of the world.  The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, is a truly inspirational and compassionate leader, she is how all other nations leaders should be.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington, New Zealand, on March 17, 2019

This picture says a thousand words.

New Zealanders have pulled together to help the victims and their families, they have held vigils, raised money and food donations, they have united as a nation, embracing their Muslim brothers and sisters.  What a wonderful and amazing country, a lesson to all others worldwide.  All this atrocity has achieved is to show that New Zealand is a country where racism has no place and is not tolerated, they all look after each other, what a truly wonderful place to live this must be.

For me the most important thing any human being in this world can try and remember is that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are behind terrorism, the majority of Muslims wish to live in peace and harmony.  Their religious book, the Quran, promotes peace, but of course any Bible can have it’s words twisted to suit evil-doers intentions, this does not make it true.

My love and blessing go to all in New Zealand, may they find their peace once again.

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