The Portugal Diaries #1

The Battle Family have a big announcement to make….

No, BattleKid isn’t going to be a big brother. No we haven’t won the lottery. But I have left my job, just over 6 weeks ago and for good reason. We are moving! And not just house. We are packing up lock, stock and barrel and emigrating. I still cannot believe we are doing it. It seems unreal and yet as you read this post we’ll be on our way to a completely new life, in another country we have only visited twice.The Portugal Diaries

We made this monumental decision while on holiday in Tenerife at Christmas. But first a little bit of a back story.

When we moved into our current house we were fortunate enough to be in a position to keep our first house and rent it out. And for three years we had a lovely, quiet couple renting it. We never heard from them apart from once during their time there. The issue was sorted quickly and we carried on as normal.

Then unfortunately, last October, the couple separated and had to give up their tenancy. This in itself wasn’t a problem as we knew we would quickly get more tenants as the rental market in that town is quite buoyant. Rental properties are snapped up quite quickly. And within a week, our letting agency had new tenants for us.

All sorted we thought. That was until a few days later, the night BattleDad arrived back home after 2 weeks in India with work, during which time he’d had some family problems to contend with. We got a call from the letting agent to say the tenants had some problems with the property that we’d have to sort. What problems? The property was in great condition, having had the internal plasterwork redone two years previously, as well as the external render redone to address a damp/condensation problem.

The builder who did the work, via the letting agent, told BattleDad he’d deal with the tenant and let us know what exactly needed to be done and costs too. He soon came back saying the niggles they had were utterly ridiculous and the guy was simply trying to be awkward. He’d had quite an attitude with the builder and he said to us “don’t worry, I’ve seen his type before, leave him to me. I’ll sort this out”. Fair enough we said.

However, it got us thinking. We had been very lucky with our previous tenants who were as good as gold, and we really didn’t want to start dealing with problem, awkward tenants. Fair enough if the house wasn’t up to scratch, but it was. I told BattleDad that he didn’t need the stress with the work and travelling he was doing. We thought then that it might be best to sell the property and think about buying a holiday home.

Now my parents had not long bought their retirement home in Portugal and we thought it might be nice to have something close to them that we and family could use, as well as maybe renting it out during part of the summer to cover costs. Although the area is within the Algarve, it is the East Algarve so a bit quieter and more cultural than your Albufeira or Portimao.

So we made the decision to tell the letting agents to make plans for putting the property on the market. And the decision to buy a holiday home in Portugal had been made.

However, while we were on holidays in Tenerife over Christmas, it went a bit further. We loved seeing BattleKid enjoying himself in the sun, free to play, not being cooped up indoors. Because, let’s face it, our UK kids spend more time indoors than they do outdoors, simply because our weather is so crap and unpredictable. We realised that if we moved to Portugal on a permanent basis, he would have a much better quality of life, spend more time outdoors, with the added bonus of seeing his grandparents on a much more regular basis. He doesn’t get to see them as often as his cousins and it would be nicer to be close to family without having to return to Ireland to do that.

Plus we and my parents would have a support network in each other, particularly me when BattleDad is travelling with work. It gets lonely on my own when he is away, even if it’s only for the week, and despite having BattleKid in the evenings and work during the day, it’s still quite isolating. Don’t get me wrong, I love our house and where we live but I’m too far from Cardiff for colleagues to pop by and I don’t have any friends close by to call on if I need or want company. Plus it’s difficult when you have a young child with a regular bedtime routine.

The more we talked about it on holiday, the more it made sense. BattleDad is lucky in that as long as he has access to an airport with links to London and Europe, he can be based anywhere. And we’re also fortunate enough that I don’t have to work. Whether we are based in the UK or in Portugal, BattleDad being away during the week for work doesn’t depend on us being located anywhere in particular. I could get to spend more time with BattleKid and my folks and still see BattleDad at the weekends as usual, albeit in the sunshine.

BattleDad has been hounding me for years that he wanted to live in a warmer country with guaranteed sunshine in the summer, even if the winter was colder and damp. And now he’s getting his wish. Had my parents not retired to Portugal we wouldn’t be going. Them being based there was what made the decision very easy for me.

I’ve been sort of keeping a diary about our decision and things that have been cropping up along the way, things we’ve had to sort etc. so I’ve decided to share our journey with you guys. I figure it might inspire others to be brave to make big decisions about their own family’s future that they are unsure of. Whether it’s moving house or not, I want to show you all the things we’ve had to consider and the things we’ve had to sort out. It has been stressful and we’re not there yet but soon it’ll be all over and we’ll be settling into a completely new way of life.

I do hope you’ll join us on this journey. I’ve been sharing snippets of our decision on Instagram, so if you follow me there you’ll know about this big change coming our way, but I’ll be going into much more detail here on the blog. Stick with us and see if we’ve made the right decision or if we’ll live to regret giving up our life in the UK. And I’ll have to shave my legs more! Only disadvantage I’ve found so far!

Cath x

24 thoughts on “The Portugal Diaries #1

    1. Thanks Tara, it was a trek and a half but we made it, just. Now to sort out a red engine warning light on my car x Hope you three are keeping well x

  1. Wow what a big decision the sun definitely makes life easier wishing you good wishes on your move total respect to you and your family not sure I could leave Cardiff haha!

  2. omg! So exciting for you! We have also talked about getting a summer place in Portugal, but we need to sell our house in the UK first! I love being an expat, it opens up a whole world of opportunity, especially for kids! Good luck!

    1. Oh thanks Tracy. It was a big move indeed and it’ll take a while to adjust but hopefully it works out for us. Fingers crossed you get your summer place x

  3. Hi Cath! You’ll become expat parents like us! We packed up and moved to France a few years ago for my husband’s work. We go back and forth to the UK a lot and have a supportive network here. Hard with kids adapting to schools and language etc but they get used to it. Wow. Good luck. Alison

    1. Alison, thank you for your kind and supportive words. We’re lucky in that BattleKid hasn’t started school yet so hopefully we won’t worry about that. I think we’ll soon find our feet and start enjoying ourselves. Thanks again xxx

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