Living Arrows 28/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

In the last week we have the pleasure of visiting not one but two castles here in Portugal. I had no idea there were so many in Portugal, let alone within two hours of us.

The first we visited was in a town 20 minutes from us called Castro Marim. Castro Marim has two fort-type castles on opposite hills, one which is open to the public and one which isn’t. We had a lovely time wandering around, looking for dragons of course, and imagining what it was like to live there hundreds of years ago.

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Just taking a break from dragon hunting

We also visited a castle in a town called Beja which is 2 hours drive from us. We were meeting up with friends from Wales who were in Lisbon on holiday and who kindly offered to meet halfway. It was so good seeing M and his new fiancee P, who is lovely, and we spent a lovely hour wandering around the castle, hunting for dragons, before having a bite to eat and a coffee. I was blown away by this castle. And guess what? We passed another one in a town called Mertola which we are going to return to!

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Standing in the courtyard of Beja Castle

We also spent last Friday evening at the beach after BattleDad finished work. I still can’t quite believe that this is our life now; popping to the beach after work on Friday while it’s still hot is still something dreams are made of.

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Jumping the waves on Manta Rota beach

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows

10 Things That Make Me Happy

I was tagged by the lovely Kirsty of Winnettes blog in the 10 Things That Make Me Happy tag. You can read Kirtsy’s post over on her blog. I’ve been so busy settling into a new life that I nearly forgot to take part. But I am finally getting around to it and here is my post.

  1. My Son

Although he drives me insane at times with tantrums tears and indecisions (I want it, I don’t want it, I want it), I love him dearly and can’t imagine my life without him now. He is at a great age and we are thoroughly enjoying watching him grow and develop. There are times he is an absolute angel and will kiss us and say “I love you”, and other times we’d like a refund. But he makes me so happy at times.

  1. My Husband

We have been together 17 years and married for 7 of those, and he makes me incredibly happy. We’ve been on some amazing adventures and they continue and he works so hard to provide us all with an incredible life that I couldn’t do a post like this without mentioning and thanking him. I just hope we are as happy in 17 more years together!

  1. our Dog

The BattleDog, the black beast. He has been our only dog for almost a year after we lost BattleDog #1 but we wouldn’t be without him in our lives. So much so there was no question about not bringing him with us to Portugal. He is a caring and fiercely loyal dog who would protect us with his life. He is so good and obedient and is a dream to walk and play with. I hope he is with us for many years to come.

10 things that make me happy
Picture captured by Donna of Sweet Whimsy Photography
  1. Beaches

I have to admit I used to hate the idea of the beach. Maybe it was because we lived far enough away from them that to appreciate your time at one, it meant an hour’s trek in the car and spending all day there to make the most of it. Well, since moving to Portugal we have several beaches within a ten minutes’ drive from us. And boy are they incredible. Clean water, white warm sand that stretches for miles and the sun to go with it. They are quite a bit different from the beaches of Wales or Ireland I can tell you and I’m loving every minute we spend on one.

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Kicking sand at Manta Rota
  1. Travelling

BattleDad and I have always enjoyed travelling and when BattleKid came along, we knew having a baby in tow wasn’t going to stop us. From his first ferry trip home to Ireland at 4 months old, to New York at two and a half, he is well travelled. We have a big USA road trip coming up in less than two months, with other holidays planned for later in the year. And we are already talking about possible destinations for next year. Travelling is in our blood and it is something that makes me very happy. New places, new people, new cultures, all ready to discover and just a plane ride away. What’s not to love?

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BattleKid at the World Trade Centre Memorial.
  1. Food

I love food and it makes me very happy. My Dad is a retired chef so food has always been a big feature on our lives, especially dinners. Whether it is a quick dinner or full on 3 course meals, we’ve always sat down as a family to eat our dinner together and it continues in the Battle Household. And since moving to Portugal two months ago I’m enjoying food even more. Eating out is quite cheap and the quality of food we’ve received so far has been outstanding. Sometimes a nice meal is all I need to put a smile back on my face.

  1. Shopping

Now when I say shopping I don’t mean the food type. I mean the retail therapy type. There is nothing nicer than a few hours to yourself, browsing the shops for a bargain or discovering a fabulous dress or top in a shop you haven’t been into for ages. I’ve been loving clothes shopping since moving to Portugal as I can now buy summer clothes with no worries as to whether I am going to get the weather to wear them. It’s guaranteed. My whole wardrobe has taken on a much different look and I’m really happy about that.

  1. Writing

I could not have ignored writing when doing this post as my blog depends on it. And the blog wouldn’t exist if I didn’t enjoy writing. I used to write 18 A4 pages, back and front, essays for English when studying for my Leaving Certificate (Irish equivalent of A-Levels). My English teacher would dread setting essays for homework for the weekends as she knew what was coming with me. But she read every one of them and when I was leaving school she gave me card which said, “what am I going to do on a Sunday evening without your essays to read and mark”. I bet she enjoyed them more after I left, haha.

  1. Films

I love movies. BattleDad and I were regular cinema goers before BattleKid came along and always enjoyed the latest new films to be released. With no babysitters near us, we’ve had to rely on waiting for films to be released on DVD to watch new ones but still enjoy discovering old films to watch which we might have missed before on the likes of Netflix. Snuggling up on the sofa, with popcorn, chocolate and a drink is my ideal Saturday night.

  1. Music

If there is one thing I could not live without it would be music. I love music. I like a wide genre of music but in particular I love dance and trance music. Not your most common choice but there are so many songs from the late 90’s and early 00’s that hold special memories with them. Things like Komodo by Mauro Picotto, 10 in 01 by Members of Mayday, In and Out of Love by Armin van Buuren and No Good Start the Dance by The Prodigy, the song that started it all for me. If I’m feeling a bit down or in a ‘meh’ mood, putting on my favourite playlist on Spotify which features these and many more is sure to perk me up and lighten my mood.

So, there you have it, 10 Things That Make Me Happy. I hope you enjoyed reading this and finding out maybe one other thing you didn’t know about me. Now I’d like to tag the following bloggers to take part:

Ruth from Its Just a Phase

Lisa from Bad Mummy

Nicola from Lady Nicci

Muuka from Another Drop of Ink

Laura from The Mamma Fairy

Louise from Tattooed Lady with a Baby

Eimear from Chirps From a Little Red Hen

Lyra from This is Where I Blog

Clare from Mumsy Midwife

Fern from Mum Conventional

10 things that make me happy

28/52 My Sunday Photo: 09/07/2017

Last Sunday we ventured out and headed to a place called Castro Marim, as recommended to us by BattleDad’s aunt. She had told us of two castles or forts, one of which you could visit and she thought it would be a great place to go dragon hunting. And we weren’t disappointed.
The two forts are enclosed within walls. The one we visited had towers, castle-like buildings, horse stables, a beautiful church, various buildings and battlements you could walk on. Up there we saw great views as far as both Vila Real de Santo Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain across the river. We visited the museum inside and saw some amazing artefacts. And if you are wondering, yes we did find a dragon but that is a tale for another day.
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The second fort of Castro Marim
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Looking out across the salt pans towards Ayamonte
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Just taking a break from dragon hunting
To see what everyone else is linking up this weekend to My Sunday Photo, please click on the badge below. Why not join in yourself!

Be In The Picture 6

At the start of each month, which comes around so quickly these days, I look back on the pictures I’ve taken for the month and each time I am surprised. Since starting to take part in Be In the Picture I make a big effort to ensure there are a few pictures taken of me for BattleKid to have in the future, even if it is in these posts.

We are almost 2 months in Portugal and we’ve all been spending a lot more time together as a family, which was one of our reasons for moving down here. We’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather with just a few days where we’ve needed to shelter indoors with the air con on as the temperatures crept beyond 35ºC.

So let’s take a look back at the month. Earlier this month I’ve been trying to keep on top of both blog work and a course I’m doing but I’ve been finding it hard. I have been known to bribe a certain someone with Disney Cars 2 and the odd biscuit so I can get some work done. Bad mum, I know but sometimes it has to be done!

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All that effort was to get some stuff done before I jetted back to the UK for a weekend in London with 2 of my sisters for the Take That concert. It was a great weekend with visits to The Shard, The London Eye, Duck Tours and also the Ice Bar. We also hit Oxford Street for a bit of shopping, as you do!

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Sisters in London
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Outside the Shard
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Ice Bar drinkies
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Boy is it cold in the Ice Bar

After the fab weekend in London, the rest of the following week was all about relaxing and nice dinners as a family.

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BattleDad then had an overnight in London himself for a Guns and Roses concert and as soon as he got back he was packing up for yet another week in Paris to be at the client site. So, going solo, BattleKid and I decided to check out some of the local beaches early one morning while the sun wasn’t too hot. We visited Cacela Vehla but there wasn’t much of a beach. We did however discover a small one at Fabrica and enjoyed a morning on the sand collecting shells.

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Me and my boy at Fabrica
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Nothing like the sand between your toes before 10am

Once BattleDad was back it was haircut time for the boy. While we waited he offered to be a pillow!

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On the last Monday of the month, BattleDad finished his client calls by 5pm, so we decided to go exploring as a little boy had had a nap earlier so there would be no early bedtime. We headed for Manta Rota and discovered a glorious beach. We had a lovely evening on the beach.

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Kicking sand at Manta Rota
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Chasing the boy at Manta Rota

It was such a nice beach that I took my sister and niece, who were visiting, on their last day before they needed to be at the airport for their flight home to Ireland.

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Chilling on Manta Rota beach
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Being buried by the boy

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the fact I can wear summer gear! Even with a small bit of rain, I’ve been in t-shirts, summery blouses, shorts, skirts and dresses. I’m so used to it now that putting a pair of jeans on me in London felt so alien. I’m not sure how I’m going to fare in Bluestone in October or even Disneyland Paris in December, which we finally booked!

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Enjoying my summer wardrobe

So there you have it, June was a busy month and as you can see I’ve been making a real effort to get in front of the camera, with and without the boy. If you missed last months Be in the Picture, you can find it here.

Be in the Picture was created by Kerry of All About A Mini Norris and Alana of Baby Holiday in which they encouraged us to get in front of the camera instead of always being behind it. I’m guilty of this and by joining in with Be in the Picture, it ensures BattleKid will have pictures of me as well of himself when he grows up

The Most ‘Instagrammed’ Landmarks in the World

Instagram is one of the most popular social media websites in the world with around 700 million active monthly users as of April 2017. It also has a total of around 40 billion photos uploaded to date, approximately 95 million per day. That’s an incredible number.

Instagram is now the modern day equivalent of the old holiday photo album you and your family used to have, with selfies, travel photos and dog pictures making up the 40 billion photos. If your travel pictures aren’t on Instagram, then did you really go anywhere? In this day and age, the answer for most is “No.”

It is also my favourite social media platform, where I could spend hours looking at beautiful photos. From flat-lays, to family photos, to iconic landmarks, Instagram has it all. While there are some landmarks from around the world that regularly appear in our Instagram feeds, there are some that don’t feature. Does that surprise you?

To find out which landmarks from around the world made in onto the list and even those that didn’t, why not check out this infographic compiled by Richard Pinches** of Meadows Farm Studios! This infographic reveals some of the top ‘instagrammed’ landmarks in the world, from France’s Eiffel Tower amassing around 3.6 million posts to Bulgaria’s Alexander Nevsky cathedral amassing only 7.8K posts. See which landmarks you know and maybe even which one’s you might have uploaded yourself!

most instagrammed landmarks

Next time you go on holiday, don’t forget to upload your photos to Instagram because if your photos aren’t on Instagram, then in our eyes you never went away in the first place. 

Cath x

*Collaborative post. However, no remuneration was received for hosting this infographic.

**Richard Pinches has been an active photographer for more than three decades. Having studied at Berkshire College of Art in Reading where he qualified in commercial photography. His college work experience was with ex BCAD Alumnus, Paul Howerd, who really opened his eyes to life as a professional photographer. Richard then set up his own studio – Meadows Farm Studios – in a disused barn on his parent’s farm in 1988. Now almost 30 years later, he’s still going strong.

most instagrammed landmarks