Sunday, 31 May 2015

Village Experience: Bourton-On-The-Water

It is spring in England.  Now, spring doesn't guarantee good weather.  Having lived in England for a total of 6 years now, I can assure you that the weather is something that we can't predict.  The MET Office might say sunny now but it can change from hail to windy to rainy then back to being sunny again in one day.  That is four seasons for you people.  :P

I don't live in London.  Reading is a town 30 minutes by train to London Paddington.  Having lived in Reading is a blessing and a curse for me.  One one hand, it is near London but not near enough for me to go work in London and still make money and on the other hand, it is in between Oxford and London which are two major cities in my opinion.  

I have heard of Cotswold.  I just didn't realise how near it is to where we live.  I have assumed that it will be somewhere up north but it wasn't.  Bourton on the water is actually an hour and a half away from Reading by car.  It is a small quaint village maybe 30 minutes away from Oxford.  Having lived in the city all my life, this was a different experience for me.  Now, don't get any ideas.  Wokingham is as close to moving to a village for me.  I love being accessible to everything.

There are few things to do in Bourton on the Water:

1.  Bird Zoo
2.  Visit the Model Village
3.  Motor Museum
4. Do the Maze
5.  Walk around the village and picnic
6.  And my favourite, go to tea houses.  

Since this is our first time and we only paid for few hours pay and display for our parking, we ended up walking around the village and drinking coffee by the stream.  On a sunny day like today, there are kids playing on stream catching fishes and there are many ducks to be fed.  It is nice and relaxing and just something different from living in a city.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

17.05.2015: Praia da Adraga

The best holidays are the ones that are not planned.  Don't believe me.  There are pros and cons with the planned and unplanned holidays.  I used to fall on the former since I like to know what to do on a daily basis and not waste a dime sitting around on the hotel but since I like in Europe now, such a dream come true BTW, I can just fly anytime, provided I have visa, money and days off from work.

I am so selfish in this trip, since I have been, I am not very excited on the idea of going to Lisbon.  Luckily, this is one of the countries where Luke haven't been.  If you think I am well-travelled, I paled in comparison to my husband.  He lived in Australia, Kazakhstan and Thailand and he is only in his early thirties.  That's all because of his job.  So proud of your achievements babe.

All holidays are different.  It is all dependent on the weather, the company and that company's fun factor.  There is no such thing as boring one as different people have different ideas of holiday.  If I have to go to the beach, a do not disturb sign has to be assigned next to me.  My idea of heaven is sun + tan + books + food and alcohol.  What can I say, I am a very simple girl and it shows on my figure.  *evil laugh*

Praia da Adraga is not a very accessible beach.  It is very local if I have to say so myself.  Not very crowded either.  The beach is surfer's paradise.  The waves are massive when we got there at 10AM so I can imagine that it was bigger at 6AM.  It is very clean and not touristy at all.  There is nothing that my British husband hates than going to a place which is catered to the tourist.  There is only one restaurant/ bar, one public toilet.  Noone is on tour and there is noone offering braids, massages or any thing at all.  My tip is to be fully prepared when you go there - bring everything, food, drinks, entertainment, umbrella, sun lotion, toilet paper.  I mean everything you can think of.  I am assuming that you are renting a car so be prepared to get lost in the small narrow roads.  But be patient.  The beach is a gem just 40 minutes outside the city.  :)

Saturday, 16 May 2015

16.05.2015: Fatima

I am not extremely religious.  Like, it is a Sunday today but I am blogging when I am supposed to be in church.  You won't see me debating with anyone about religion anytime soon as I think it is a waste of time to impose such things to non-believers.  But I do believe in God, I do believe in miracles and I let God's plan take over my life.  I was born and raised as a Catholic and luckily, my husband is too.  It wasn't very important when I was younger and dating blindly but now, I am thankful for God for sending me my husband.  

Fatima is a religious site 100km outside Lisbon.  It is where Mama Mary said to have appeared and very important to all Catholics.  It is a Pilgrim site and Catholics all over the world come to visit there.  We were lucky when we got there as they just had the Big Fatima Celebration.  Lucky that we missed as it was so busy just to get to the chapel.  It was off peak when we visited and the parking is free.  Don't be shocked when you see people walking on their knees and praying or when you see people getting pushed in a wheelchair praying for a miracle.  I, for one, felt extremely lucky to be there.  Blessed that I was in the Holy Site not needing any miracle.  I was just thankful for all the blessings that the Father and Mother has given over the years.  I am sorry this is turning to be a very "Praise the Lord" account but there is no other way about it.  I am a proud Catholic.a

Tips when visiting Fatima:

1.  Go early as it gets extremely hot on a flat area during the afternoons providing that it is summer or spring of course.

2.  Bring your own food and water.  There are picnic areas around the Church.  I only saw handful of restaurants and I am sure, they would charge you a lot.  

3.  Bring sun protection or if you are Hay Fever, bring meds.  We made the mistake of not bringing sun protection and had to buy from one of the stores which charged triple compared to England.  Can't fault the only pharmacy in the area.

4.  Have change ready for the candles.  If you want to bring offertory like flowers, you can too.

Friday, 15 May 2015

15.05.2015: Lisbon

When I blog, I blog weeks behind.  Not really a sign of a good blogger.  If I have been blogging about fashion, I would be deemed irrelevant.  :P  When I started blogging, I used to get excited to write about my day - I used to have a personal blog, a fashion blog and a travel blog separated from each other. And now, I stick to what I know best as there's such a thing as over sharing and as I get older, spending every dime on clothes seems to be not my priority anymore.  
I turned 30 on the 20th of May, like I said, I write weeks behind.  Today is the 21st of July.  I have been procrastinating with my blogs.  I like to write when the time is right and I can't seem to find time these days for writing.

I didn't plan to go to Lisbon.  I have envisioned myself lounging in Mexico with Margarita in hand but I had to let go of plans as 1.  I wanted to celebrate my birthday with people that matters 2.  There is a big holiday coming as my brothers is getting married in less than 10 days and we need to go back to Asia.  As I was saying, I wanted to make a big deal out of my 30th because I am not someone who likes to celebrate my birthday but not everything happens according to plan.  Each and everyone that I have invited backed out.  How that does make me feel?  I don't even have a big group of friends and I don't like making fake acquaintances.  I am still sore about this but WTH it is just life.  I am just thankful that I have my husband who is extremely loving who held me when I was crying on my 30th birthday wallowing on self-pity.

I have very fond memories of Lisbon.  It was one of the countries that I visited with friends and remembered truly enjoying myself.  I visited during the time that I had my heart broken properly.  I thought I wasn't gonna recover and all the BS but less than a year later, I found my husband.  I am so thankful to K who trampled it, otherwise, I will be in a miserable relationship.  :P  

I had a picture in that fountain whilst it was being renovated in 2009 - inside the water being stupid in the afternoon.  I felt fearless and was on a holiday high.  :P
At first I thought Lisbon looks like a toilet tiled everywhere.  Not to offend anyone but when I first went, I wasn't as well travelled now.  It is amazing seeing different tile patterns and remembering that Portugal was once a powerful country.
 EGG TART!  Need I say more?  Lisbon is very well-known for their Portugese Egg Tart.  Flaky yummy goodness.  We had one each day and we took some back home which my sister devoured in seconds and asked where I purchased them.  Hahaha

Our first day was spent walking around Old Lisbon town.  As I have been, I didn't plan on doing anything else.  I initially wanted to go to Santa Justa Lift but seeing the reviews, we decided against it.  It is not free to go in.  You can just about see the sights anywhere higher than the old town.  As we were walking, we ended up in Rua Agusta Arch which stores all the Inditex brand, Lisbon Cathedral and Mira Duoro.  It was such a lovely day that I burnt my self.  You see, England is hardly any sunshine all day of the year.  :P


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