London Eye Big Ben

Lets talk about Terrorism

I don’t really watch the news. Nowadays I believe that ignorance is the best way of going about your daily life without obsessing about all the evil that is out there. But of course I find out about any major news through people at work or by just quickly checking Facebook.

If something bad happens in London I usually find out through messages from my family and friends asking if I am OK.

When I lived in Portugal terrorism was a reality in places far far away. It was not on my mind at all. Even though I watched the news almost every day back then terrorism was not on my mind at all when I was out and about.

Terrorism news even if in London did not make me fear being out there either. Did not stop me from using the London transport system or going out to a live show. Or having my brother visit and taking him around to enjoy this beautiful city. Even though that was shortly after the London Bridge attack.

It did make me more vigilant and more cautious though. I have stepped out of the tube or train to wait for the next one when something didn’t seem quite right more than once. Even reported a bag left alone at the airport in Lisbon. Everyone else did not seem to care or notice that. I guess you get that from living in London.

Sadly these events are becoming more and more frequent and going about your life in the city without terrorism being in the back of your mind is almost impossible.

My love for London is undeniable and I have felt safe here for the most part of it. Unfortunately at the moment I don’t feel safe anymore. It makes me so sad that I am letting terrorism win by feeling afraid but I can’t keep pretending it will all be OK. It just doesn’t seem to be getting any better and I can’t accept terrorism acts around me every now and then as the new normal!

The last news of terrorism in London were watched while having breakfast in Portugal in a café near the beach. Strangely enough it seems that that was the turning point for me. The moment I realised I might struggle to go to central London in peace. The moment I lost hope in this city I love.

Fortunately we live further away from the city center and don’t have to commute to London on a daily basis but still I don’t know if that is good enough to be “safe”.

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back to work

Back to Work

Got home late on Tuesday but Wednesday was back to work day. If you know me (and work with me) you know I don’t really take a day off after landing in London. Even when I got home around 3am I went to work that same day!

I have an office job that is not far from home so it is not really a big struggle to do it with a little less sleep. Can always catch up on sleep on the following day and be at 100% then.

It’s good to be back midweek as having a short week helps with getting into the work mode again in a smoother way.

As I quite enjoy what I do and the people I work with it is not too bad going back to work but I do miss being on holiday all the time!

This time I am struggling a bit due to my elbow problem. Desk work can be quite painful if I am not taking regular breaks. I even got a new chair and nice “cushions” for extra support. It does help a little.

Even writing for the blog is not easy and I am writing this post with both elbows on a soft ice pack.

If not for the elbow troubles I would already be thinking and probably planning the next holidays but for now I am focused in getting better and just trying to do my job as well as physically possible. At home I am getting as much rest as possible so I am not going to go on writing a super long post.

Hope you are all well and enjoying your weekend!

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Praia dos pescadores

Portugal Travel Diary III

This is the last post of this travel diary. Hope you have enjoyed it so far.

Lazy Sunday

CrepeAfter a late breakfast at the local café we headed to a family lunch. That stretched through the afternoon with the conversation flowing.

Once we reached Ericeira we were feeling peckish and ended up at the café again for crepes and milkshakes. Totally skipped dinner after that!

Mad Monday

x-rayWe had a quiet morning and lunch at home before the long day ahead. Afterwards we drove to Lisbon. I had to get an x-ray of my elbow before my second appointment at the hospital. Once that was done we quickly went to collect our passports (not far from the hospital). We got back just in time to see my doctor. The news were not terrible but I will need further treatment. To start off with we had to go buy an elbow brace somewhere else in Lisbon. This is becoming quite an expensive elbow as I have spent over £250 on it already!

Once my elbow affairs were sorted we did some shopping at Decathlon and Zara. We also picked up some of our stuff from my mum’s place (the one closer to Lisbon) before heading back to Ericeira.

Leaving Tuesday

The day was spent with family just enjoying a foggy day at Ericeira. A walk by the beach and an amazing homemade lunch totally made the day. The lobster was delicious!

I was not missing home yet. I felt I could stay a little longer this time. And it’s not just the weather as it is not even that hot at the moment. Can’t really pinpoint why to be honest but I am going to miss Portugal a little more than usual.

sunset at ericeira

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Praia da Gaivota

Portugal Travel Diary II

As promised I am back for a Sunday post.

Alentejo Wednesday

Quinta do Moinho de VentoAfter a good night sleep we headed to Mabi for breakfast. This is the most popular choice in the area for breakfast and it didn’t disappoint.

To soak up the Sun we picked Almograve and stretched our beach towels at Nossa Senhora beach. The water was cold but still we went in for a little bit. After getting all the Vitamin D we went back to Milfontes for lunch.

Farol Cabo SardaoIn the afternoon we went for a little Instagram mission and visited a lighthouse and another beach. No matter how many times we visit this part of Portugal we always discover something new. The beach was stunning and there was no one else there (check my Instagram for pictures).

Back at our room we showered and got ready to go out for dinner. Even though it is September and midweek the restaurants were packed and we struggled to find a table!

Road Trip Thursday

Heading back North we visited a few beaches on the way and it took us all day to reach home in Ericeira.

PatachoThe first stop was at Patacho beach to check out a shipwreck. We visited Pessegueiro Island beach and a few amazing beaches around Porto Covo including Sao Torpes which is known for its hot waters. The water was not exactly hot but it wasn’t as cold as the other beaches.

 

Comporta Beach

Lunch was in Sines and it was pretty good. Last minute we decided to visit Comporta to enjoy the sunshine. This place is pretty spectacular as the stretch of sand is so long you cannot see where it ends.Cais Palafitico

 

Before getting back on the road home we stopped at “Cais Palafitico” in Carrasqueira to take a few pictures. This is quite a picturesque place and worth a visit if you’re around.

Once we reached Ericeira we were super tired! We showered and enjoyed a lovely homemade meal at my mum’s place before bedtime.

Chilled Friday

We didn’t do much all day. Lunch was at a closeby restaurant and the afternoon was spent sunbathing at home on the terrace.

After a delicious dinner at home we drove to a town nearby to spend time with some friends. It was such a nice chat time flew by and we only got back at around 2am.

Family Saturday

My brother and his girlfriend came round for lunch and we had a lovely time catching up over lunch. It is nice to just talk and have no pressures to do “all the things”. Feels good to just relax and enjoy each others’ company.

Home

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Galé Beach

Portugal Travel Diary I

Thought I would do a different type of post as it is the first time I am away since I launched the blog. I even managed to fit my laptop in my hand luggage just to keep you all updated with new posts on the usual days.

This is what I have been up to so far in Portugal:

Travel Day

Luton Airport Rain Drops and Rainbow

We got delayed at rainy Luton and got to Portugal a bit later than planned ending up only reaching the arrivals’ area around 10pm. It had been a long time since we were in Portugal and the family was waiting for us. Even the dog came to the airport! Once we were all hugged out we walked to the rental car place together. Only to find out that as we were quite late they did not have the car we had picked online. We rented Diesel as we are going to travel a bit and Diesel is cheaper here. But Sixt did not let us down and quickly found a car for us. A black and beautiful Audi A1. I am super happy with this one, it is the first time we rented an Audi.

The drive home was quick and when we got home my mum had dinner almost ready. One of my favourites. Fricassé chicken.

Touristy Sunday roam and exploring an abandoned building

Azenhas do Mar Beach

Sunday started a little blue with us feeling a bit uneasy with the fact that we had no plans and no commitments for the day. Soon we sorted that out by deciding to go for a drive to check out the beaches around Sintra and later going to an abandoned restaurant to take some pictures.

First we went for a walk at Azenhas do Mar beach as this is one of my favourite places around Lisbon.

magoito beach

Afterwards we struggled to find a restaurant that had free tables and allowed dogs. Once we found one (at Praia das Macas) the service was so slow that we waited an hour to get our starters. The food was OK but I would not go back due to the poor service.

No longer starving we headed to Magoito beach. Shockingly I had never been there before. It has the most beautiful views! We soaked in the Sun and got some nice shots before we left.

The golden hour was running out so we rushed to the next photo mission place. The abandoned Panoramic Restaurant in Monsanto. The signs outside warn about entering this place as it is strictly forbidden and doing so could lead to spending 3 months in prison. This is a little scary but seeing some kids inside we did not hesitate in going in too.

Panoramico Monsanto

Everything was pretty clean inside and even though the walls are covered in graffiti the place is really impressive. The views of the city are great too. It is a shame that this place is not open for the public to visit legally.

Sunset at Panoramico de Monsanto

I have to say I was a little scared of getting caught as I am not one to just ignore the law and enter private property without authorization. Because of that we ended up getting out pretty quickly and not getting great shots.

At the end of the day we were exhausted!

Admin Monday

As this was the first working day of our time in Portugal we had already planned to go get our passports renewed. We had a bet on how long the wait would be. The bets were between 30 to 46 minutes but we ended up being called less than a minute after we got there! And were out in less than 10 minutes. Great service too as the guy was in good spirits and did everything so efficiently.

With time to spare we tried to book a haircut. And failed! They were booked up for the whole day already.

Portugalia Steak and Egg

Then we moved on to going to the bank to sort out some paperwork. This took a lot longer than expected and we were super hungry by the end of it. Lunch was at Portugália and it was lovely.

It was super hot outside so we decided to go home to get some rest. Later we went to the private hospital for an orthopedic appointment as I was (and still am) suffering from pain in my right elbow. The diagnostic was elbow tendonitis. I will need to go back for a second appointment next week.

Road Trip to Milfontes Tuesday

Praia da Gale Rocks

The plan was to get up early and make a move but we ended up enjoying breakfast in family instead. Our first stop was Praia da Galé just to take some pictures. The easiest access is via the camping site so we walked through it to reach one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. A few shots after we got out of there and gave a lift to a couple of hitchhikers that were leaving the camping site and were heading South.

Milfontes Beach

After lunch we got back on the road towards Vila Nova de Milfontes. We checked in once we arrived and headed to town to do a little shopping before exploring the local beaches. As it was too windy we didn’t do a lot of sunbathing as there was a lot more of “sandbathing” going on instead.

Even though the Sun was pretty much gone I braved into the cold waters of the swimming pool for a little bit before a hot shower.

Dinner was Pizza and Sangria and we loved it. It is so good to be back to one of our favourite holiday spots in the World.

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my hand luggage

Hand Luggage

Hard to remember the last time I checked in a bag! At first it might seem daunting not being able to take “everything you need” with you. But really it’s not such a big deal and you get better at it.

There are a few pros and cons of travelling with hand luggage only and of course it’s up to you to choose what suits you best.

Pros:

  • You save money as checking in bags can be quite expensive
  • You save time as you can go straight to security and there is no need to wait for that bag to show up at the conveyor belt for endless minutes after a tiring flight
  • No uncertainty regarding possible lost luggage
  • Less bags to carry around
  • Easier to find your stuff as it will all be in one bag (before it is all over the place)
  • Usually no struggle to fit your luggage in the rental car.

Cons:

  • The liquids’ restrictions can be a bit of a pain as you won’t be able to take a lot with you and some products don’t even come in 100ml (or less) bottles
  • The amount of clothes you can take with you is fairly limited
  • Packing can take longer as you need to be more selective with what you are taking with you
  • Not being able to buy stuff when away and bring it back.

Now, a few notes and tips to go on a hand luggage only adventure:

  • If you live in the UK most of your “liquid” necessities will be available at Boots inside the airport after security so you can buy all you need there and take a carrier bag with those on the plane no questions asked
  • Coming back you can always buy gifts or any local treats at the airport. It will be more expensive but not as much as checking in bags
  • Anything you are not sure you are going to need when away and that you can easily buy it there (like an extra jacket) just don’t bother taking it and use it as an excuse to buy something new for yourself. If it doesn’t fit in your hand luggage coming back you can always wear it
  • If you own a big camera you can usually take it with you outside the bag. At least I never had any issues with it
  • And always double-check each airline’s  hand luggage maximum dimensions/weight allowed as you don’t want any unplanned extra charges.
Hope this post was helpful. Whether you do it light like me or you’re taking your closet with you I hope you have the best time! Enjoy travelling!

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view from the office sri lanka

Working in Sri Lanka

Ahead were three weeks of working in Sri Lanka. After the initial shock during the first day or so I quickly adapted to being in Sri Lanka and started to work.

The “call centre” was tiny but was located in the HSBC building in central Colombo which was quite a decent location. And very handy for cash withdrawals.

The journey to work was done by cab and as long as I was not paying attention to the traffic it was all OK. People there drive like maniacs and it can be a bit scary to be inside a car.

In the office I was welcomed like royalty. Everyone was super nice to me and so helpful. We quickly got to work and rushed through the recruitment process. Once that was out of the way I started the classroom training. I was very new to training but still managed to put it all together myself. Gathered ideas I found online and was inspired by the training I got at Vodafone Portugal.

I had a very young crowd to teach about customer services and the product. They were very respectful and generally excited about the new job. We played games, tested their knowledge and training was a breeze.

A memorable day was when one of my trainees showed up with a Portuguese football t-shirt just to impress me. I must say it worked and made me feel even more welcome and appreciated.

Once the lines were open I kept giving them support and over viewing all the operations. Soon I realized the way of working in Sri Lanka was a bit different from the UK one. There was no stress and everyone worked at their own pace. Things were getting done but not at the UK speed. Strangely I adapted very quickly to it. No point in going against it anyway. Their ways were contagious and so was their happiness.

I had my lunch brought to me every day by our tea maker. Yes, there is a person in charge of teas. Usually I ate a box of chicken fried rice or something similar, it was delicious and I think it cost under £2. Conversations at lunch time were the best and I learned a lot about their culture. Even tried to understand cricket, but failed at that.

team lunch sri lanka

Eating pizza in the interview room.

We had a couple of staff issues but nothing major. My journey to work was easy and I had my own cab driver. Days at work were busy but so enjoyable. Later my work hours were adjusted to UK time so my manager would feel a bit more in control of what was happening. That meant I had the mornings free and would get back home around 11pm.

I bonded with most of the “kids” in the team. They made this experience so much better than I could have ever imagined.

To this date I still keep in touch with some of them. And I get the occasional thank you for the training I put together.

group pic in sri lanka

Group picture with some of the “kids”

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