Traveling Alone

Traveling alone is so rare that I still find it hard at times.

This time I decided to go visit my mum as soon as possible to spend some quality time with her. As flights get more expensive every day booking this visit was time sensitive. I didn’t want to spend a fortune for just a long weekend at home. As I said before everything was booked within a couple of hours so I managed to get a good deal for a last-minute getaway.

When I was doing that I didn’t really think it through. The truth is I do struggle being away from my boyfriend. If I have an activity packed holiday I manage just fine as my mind is busy. But this time I was mostly chilling at home as the constant rain did not allow for a lot more than that. That made it a little more difficult and I did miss him more than usual.

The day I got to Lisbon started at 3am! Flight was delayed and after 4 hours inside the plane I was already starting to feel tired. Still managed to run some errands with my brother and do the shopping for Saturday dinner. Lunch was at a local restaurant we love and we stuffed our faces like little pigs. At home we chilled until it was dinner time. We had fondue. I had a good time but was half dead for the most of it and really wanted to get some sleep.

Sunday morning there was a break in the skies and it didn’t rain until lunch time so we got to visit MAAT (a relatively new museum by the river). It’s stunning outside but there’s not a lot to see or do inside. Good thing we visited on a free entrance day. After a short shopping spree we had lunch at the “local” shopping center and headed home to chill afterwards. We ate so much for lunch that dinner was just chicken soup.

Monday morning was chilled at home while it rained outside. My mum cooked one of my favourite dishes for lunch and with my belly full I headed out with a friend. Luckily it didn’t rain anymore that day! We hit some of the touristy spots by the coast, had a drink at a cool bar, took a few pictures and had dinner by the river. The conversation was flowing all day and I had a really good time.

Tuesday was spent with my mum. We left the house in the morning to run some errands, had breakfast in Belém, walked along the river with the dog and had a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. I might have had a bit too much sangria and we had a lovely time together. Before heading to the airport I mostly chilled at home.

On the flight back I watched a movie on my phone (thanks Netflix for having downloadable options) and it was great having an empty seat next to me. Luckily on arrival I didn’t have to rely on public transport as my friends are the best and I got picked up from the airport.

Looking forward to going away again but next time with my boyfriend!

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mind the gap text on tube platform

10 Years in London

Exactly 10 years ago we had landed in London to start this crazy adventure! It is so scary that 10 years have already gone by. I still remember our first week’s daily “meetings” in Leicester’s Square Burger King like it wasn’t that long ago.

If you have moved to a different country then you will know it is not an easy feat. It has been quite an emotional journey.

On our first few days in London we would sit down in Burger King at the end of the day to go through the highs and lows of the day. That kept us grounded and helped overcome the fear of not succeeding. I would also call my grandmother to check in and to let her know that we had survived another day in London.

Those were difficult times but together we got through all the challenges. Soon we settled down and started exploring our new city and other UK cities. We also planned our first holidays to go back to Portugal.

Job and house hunting was very different from what we expected. I would say a lot more challenging. Thankfully it took us only about a month to get our first jobs which was not too bad. But they weren’t great ones. We moved into our first long-term room after about three weeks and shared the flat with a great guy.

We lived in Willesden Green. My first job was at Itsu in St. Johns Wood selling sushi and my boyfriend’s first job was at Nero in Regent Street. As you can see nothing too fancy.

The next jobs popped up soon enough which allowed us to have some peace of mind and a little more money in the bank. I was a temp in a sales team selling plane parts and my boyfriend started working for Cineworld.

Our first trip back home was in September 2008 and by then we already had so many experiences to talk about with friends and family.

After that we only moved house twice and in 2013 we finally moved on from all the house sharing madness. I changed jobs quite often and even had the guts to start over in a new industry about 5 years ago. My boyfriend changed jobs once and is now working close to home too.

London has offered us so much over the years. Yes, the weather is pretty crap but the opportunities in this city are something else. We have learned so much, met some incredible people and visited places we had never even heard of before.

We truly discovered our love for travelling and went on a few trips over these last 10 years.

2008 – Portugal twice
2009 – Portugal four times, one of those Madeira and Porto Santo
2010 – Portugal three times and Nice
2011 – Portugal twice, Sri Lanka and Menorca
2012 – Portugal three times and Menorca
2013 – Portugal three times and Greece (Athens, Milos, Santorini and Mykonos)
2014 – Portugal twice, Amsterdam, Ibiza and Belgium
2015 – Portugal twice, Switzerland, Villefranche-sur-mer, Paris and Menorca
2016 – Portugal three times and Crete (Greece)
2017 – Portugal twice, Menorca, Copenhagen, Lanzarote, Furteventura and Amsterdam
2018 – Currently in Portugal

Not sure if I have missed any trips but I could count 49 trips in our first 10 years in London which averages about 5 holidays a year. Not too bad!

Looking forward to the next 10 years!

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Table with coaster from apples and pears bar

Celebrating your Birthday

Last week we celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday. I left work early and we had planned to go for cocktails and seafood.

After having a little snack and coffee at home we headed out to East London for cocktails. The first stop was at one of our favourite places, Apples & Pears. The cocktails there are delicious, the decor super cool and the staff is really nice.

On my second cocktail I was already feeling the effects of the alcohol. Conversation was flowing and we were having a good time.

Not feeling like heading back to the tube to stick to our Soho seafood restaurant plan we decided to stay in East London.

Instead of seafood we went to Hotbox for the first time. The meat was delicious but we ordered way too much food. As we enjoyed our beers and the bbq meats we kept chatting about random things. We stayed there until late just enjoying the conversation before heading back home.

We had a great time. It feels great to just pamper ourselves with some quality time out of the house with good food and drinks.

I am looking forward to celebrating more birthdays!

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Being Social

“If you’re satisfied with your social life, according to psychologists, you tend to be satisfied with life in general.” Robin Marantz Henig

Spending time with friends is one of the best things in life. Usually I would rather spend one on one time with a friend than attend some random party. I love a good conversation.

I was once a little anti-social. When I was growing up I really enjoyed spending time in my own company and avoided social events. Being shy did not help. Not saying that I am now a super sociable person but I do enjoy going out on the odd occasion.

Lately I have spent some quality time with friends and every time I get to do that I feel that I am in a better mood and generally happier.

Pancakes

Right at the end of 2017 I got to catch up with someone who used to work with me. We went to eat some delicious pancakes and managed to do a quick catch up on work related subjects and life in general. Unfortunately as he is always late we ended up having little time to chat.

Chilling at Home

After not seeing him since last Summer I got to finally catch up with this one. He is not the best at keeping in touch but decided to tell me last-minute he was around that day. It was perfect because I wasn’t feeling like going out anyway. We went out just to grab a drink and to smoke and then sat on the sofa catching up on the last few months of our lives. I enjoyed the company. Hopefully this year he will be better at showing up.

Pool

Last-minute as well I decided to go out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. He was going away for the weekend but had no real plans for the day so we ended up playing pool for hours at a pub not far from my place. I hadn’t played pool in years so I had no clue how to play it. Thankfully he was patient enough to teach me. It was nice to do something new and the conversation was great too.

Coffee and Cake

A cold and rainy day was perfect for coffee and cake with one of my besties. Good to chat at the café by the park watching the squirrels and ducks on the wet grass.  Great to avoid the weekend blues and to catch up on whatever we didn’t have time to talk about during the week at work.

Shoot and Lunch

After a while with no days off together we managed to get a Saturday to spend some quality time together. As the weather was bound to get wet again in the afternoon we got out of the house after breakfast and headed to Kings Cross to shoot some pictures. Just a short train ride away was the light tunnel of Kings Cross. There are no instructions online as to where exactly this tunnel is so we walked back and forth for ages and did not find it!

We gave up and decided to wander off to Gasholder park. After taking a few pictures we started to get hungry and decided to head back to find a Thai Restaurant. On our way to the restaurant we accidentally found the light tunnel!

Lunch was delicious and afterwards we had coffee at this quirky Moroccan coffee shop. As the rain was settling in we headed back to the train station to go home and do a little bit of “laptop club” (when we work together).

I am hoping 2018 carries on like this and I get to spend more quality time with my friends.

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