Why am I here… ?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Eye Spy.

Sad Eyes

Sad Eyes

I see you,
do you really see me
behind the bars
of captivity… ?

7 Restaurants With Good Food And Great Views In The Western Algarve

Are you stuck for somewhere to eat and looking for inspiration such as a nice restaurant with good food as well as great views? Here are my suggestions (listed in no particular order) for the wild West of Portugal. .

LAGOS

Lazy Jacks

Lagos Marina
Tel: (+351) 911568143
Wheelchair access: Yes
Parking: Yes
Accessible by train: Yes. Two minutes walk from the station.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lazyjackslagos
Open from 9am until late, 7 days a week.

What a find! Last week we were looking for a bar to have cocktails and was attracted by the music and ambiance at Lazy Jacks. Lazy Jacks is in a stunning location right on Lagos Marina. The restaurant (Bar and Grill) serves delicious food and we found the staff friendly and efficient. There is live music every Thursday and Sunday and from our experience well worth a visit (NB times seem to vary according to season so it is worth checking in advance if you are making a special journey). If you are looking for Christmas Lunch or a New Year’s Eve Party – check out their Facebook page for further details!

Lazy Jacks at Lagos Marina is the perfect location for a cocktail! December 2015December 2015

Lazy Jacks at Lagos Marina is the perfect location for a cocktail! December 2015

Lazy Jacks - Lagos Marina. View from inside the restaurant

Lazy Jacks – Lagos Marina. View from inside the restaurant

Golden Years Menu - Lazy Jacks - Lagos Marina.

Golden Years Menu – Lazy Jacks – Lagos Marina.

View from Lazy Jacks, Lagos Marina

View from Lazy Jacks, Lagos Marina

Portofino’s

Lagos Marina, First floor
Tel: 282799834
Website: www.portofinoslagos.com
Access to 1st floor  via steps or lift.
Happy Hour Pizza and Pastas 12.00-14.30 and 17.30-18.30

Italian restaurant with good food, beautiful decor  in a stunning location. ‘Happy Hour’ specials. A little pricey, but prices reflect location and quality of food. Service can be very slow in high season due to its popularity.

Portofino's, Lagos Marina

Portofino’s, Lagos Marina

View from our table at Portofino's

View from our table at Portofino’s

 

Campi Mar (restaurant bar)

Praia do Porto de Mós
Lagos
Tel: (+351) 282 762 957
facebook.com/campima

Campi Mar, Praia do Porto Mós, Lagos

Campi Mar, Praia do Porto Mós, Lagos

Praia Porto de Mós, Lagos

Praia Porto de Mós, Lagos

 

O Camilo

Praia do Camilo
Ponte da Piadade
Tel: (+351) 282763845
Nice seafood restaurant with great view. Parking can be a problem because of the popular O Camilho beach below. The restaurant has good sea views and even though it is situated just outside Lagos,  it is well worth trying especially if you incorporate your meal with a trip to the beautiful beach of Praia do Camilo.

O Camilo Restaurant, Lagos

O Camilo Restaurante, Lagos

View from restaurante o camilo

View from restaurante o camilo

Why not ‘walk off’ your meal and visit Praia do Camilo?

Praia do o camilo

Praia do o camilo

LUZ

Fortaleza da Luz

Praia da Luz.
(Opposite the church)
Tel: (+351) 282 789 926 or Mobile: (+351) 912 511 196
Website: www.fortalezadaluz.com
Entertainment: Sunday from March – November there is Jazz between 12.00 -15.00 and Thursday evening there is a dinner dance.
Fortaleza da Luz is in a stunning location. Not only does it have stunning sea views there is also an amazing garden. Food and service good.

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurante Fortaleza da Luz, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

Restaurant Fortaleza, Praia da Luz

PRAIA DA INGRINA

Restaurante do Sebastião

Praia da Ingrina
Raposeira
Tel:282639034

Restaurante do Sebastião is situated in an idyllic location right on the beach. Our favourite meal is the delicious lamb stew which I believe is only available on a Sunday by pre-order. This secluded cove is perfect for families with young children and the restaurant/cafe is the icing on the cake. Although the restaurant is on level ground, there are a few uneven steps down to the beach. Parking  is problematic in high/mid-season so don’t arrive and expect to pull straight into a parking space unless you arrive early. Please be patient because service can be slow. Chill and relax!

View from Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia da Ingrina

View from Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia da Ingrina

Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia do Ingrina

Restaurant do Sebastião, Praia do Ingrina

READERS’ CHOICE

For my seventh offering, please recommend a restaurant of you choice and I will visit and then include the details here.

Please be mindful that during peak season the quality of food and service of the above restaurants may vary.
Related Post: Praia da Ingrina

Has the sun set on your dreams?

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday

… or are you still dreaming?

Transitions: The Evolution of Man

The Evolution of Man

The Evolution of Man

The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Transition.

When you stop to consider how we have evolved and the stress of living in a high-pressured, money-grabbing, politically correct and power crazy world where tolerance and excuses breed intolerance, have we really progressed? Dog eat dog and all that…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Wall’

Noticboard

This is  the noticeboard on my study wall. For the last year I have been staring at this piggin’ mess with the good intention of removing all the redundant pieces of paper, cards and ‘whatnots’ I keep, ‘just in case’. I now have SO much rubbish I can no longer see the woods for the trees. Talking of trees, there IS probably a  tree pinned to my noticeboard.

How about you. Is your noticeboard neat and tidy or a riot of paper such as mine?

An Organic Solution for Tomato Blight and Mildew

I am absolutely convinced that gardening in my patch of Portugal is beyond a challenge, or labour of love. Case in point: I’d no sooner tidied the patch and planted up all the vegetable plugs I’d bought from the market when I noticed brown spots on the leaves. Sigh …

Tomato Blight

Tomato Blight

There is NEVER a dull moment!

Searching the net to confirm it was indeed the dreaded blight I discovered various organic treatments; the base ingredient of which was baking soda. What the hell is Portuguese for Baking Soda, I asked myself? Okay, apparently it’s Bicarbonato de Sódio. So tomorrow I’ll be on a mission to buy some!

Yes, you can buy it. It’s located in the ‘baking’ aisle of major supermarkets such as Intermarche and Continent.

Further research also revealed that regularly spraying the plants with the following concoction also helps prevent mildew on squash, courgettes, aubergines and cucumbers etc. Fingers crossed.

Recipe (US)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 US gallon of water
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)

All the recipes are pretty standard in ingredients but not measures. I discovered (by accident) that UK gallons are different from US. How on earth did I get to xx years old and not realize there was a difference? Ho hum…

1UK gal= 4.546090L
1US gal= 3.78541

So why Bicarbonate of Soda? Apparently, when you spray the leaves with the baking soda solution it lowers the PH on the leaves which in turn helps to prevent the leaf blight spores from growing.

Application: Apply using a sprayer.
When to spray: Early morning or late evening.
What to spray: Leaves (including underside) stems and base /earth round each plant
How often: Daily – weekly. I think this depends on the location and level of humidity. I’ll spray daily and see how it goes.

I found this video and website helpful.

Website: therustedgarden.blogspot

This evening I sprayed the plants just before sunset so the solution does not burn the leaves in the heat of the sun. Hopefully … we will see what tomorrow brings and if further leaves become infected over the next week.

Have you tried using this method? If not, watch this space.

Raised Vegetable Bed – Third Time Lucky!

There is a popular phrase: Third time lucky. And as this is my third attempt to grow vegetables in my ill-fated raised vegetable bed due, to problems with hedge roots, let’s hope it’s true and I am lucky!

Just to backtrack to my previous post, Gardening IS a Labour of Love!, there were various options.

– Do I dig out all the soil (again), concrete the base and then add another couple of tiers of bricks and replenish the soil?
– Cover with black plastic membrane to suppress the weeds and then move all my containers on to the raised bed? The latter would be the easier option but it would restrict the type of fruit and vegetables I would be able to grow?
– Knock the thing down and forget it existed and persuade Mr. Piglet to get some chickens?

Seriously, what would you do?

After Mr. Piglet read on my blog, and realised just how much my ‘patch of paradise’ meant to me, he suggested the first option but without the extra layers of bricks.

Here is a picture diary of progress.

The Rebirth of Piglet’s Plot

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the price was agreed the ‘muscle’ arrived the following week to start work. Normally, this is the type of project we’d undertake ourselves but we ain’t getting any younger. Besides, we’d already filled the raised bed once with earth, then dug it out, then refilled it AGAIN, so we decided to take the easy route and hire some muscle. And boy did those guys have muscles! Last time we removed all the earth it took us over a week – one man emptied it in one morning!

Once the earth had been cleared and the root encrusted liner removed the land was leveled to include a slope to aid drainage. A layer of brita (small stones) was added to the base of the bed followed by a healthy layer of concrete to block the roots. If that doesn’t work – I’ll give up and grow chickens instead!

I must confess, the workers, who no doubt are only earning the minimum age and living barely above the bread line, must have wondered at my obsessive extravagance as Mr. Piglet joked about my home-grown vegetables probably being the most expensive in the Algarve, if not in Portugal!

After a few days the concrete and the fully hardened off we added some water to double-check the fall and where the drainage holes would be best placed.

Then we waited… and waited… and waited. The topsoil which was due to be delivered failed to materialize and I sighed with relief at the thought: at least the person chasing broken promises was Portuguese and could shout encouraging words of abuse in their own lingo!

A few days later there was a flurry of phone calls and the lorry arrived with the soil and another with more brita. My garden became a hive of activity as muscle ‘one’ knocked out the drainage holes and inserted pipes. Muscle ‘two’ started adding the brita for drainage and the third helped me clean up the old membrane so it could act as a barrier between earth and brita – well that’s the theory.

The soil added and hey presto! Piglet’s Plot is reborn!

Piglet's Plot is reborn and root free

Piglet’s Plot is reborn and root free

Is this a sign?

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challengeis Wall. Armed with my camera – or should I say new iPad – I’ve been on a mission all week to find a sign that I could relate to. Now, as a self-confessed foodie this sign grabbed my attention. Not because it was bright and garish and demanded to be read, but because it was quietly enticing and sent a clear message about their passion for food.

Food for Thought - Ristorante Paesano, Alvor

Food for Thought – Ristorante Paesano, Alvor

And, enticing enough for me to want to go back and try the restaurant. We will see…

Mr. Piglet does not wait until lunchtime before he starts asking about dinner the discussion usually starts around breakfast!

www.alvor-restaurants.com/paesano-restaurant.html

Gardening IS a Labour of Love!

Growing fruit and vegetables was my labour of love and a hobby which gave me a great sense of fulfillment. Although my efforts in the vegetable garden were never destined to make us self-sufficient, the pleasure of eating something I’d grown from seed or plug was rewarding.

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February 2012

Like a sentry I stood guard against the slugs and snails and other predators such as rabbits and birds; each eager to sample the tender green shoots. I watered and fed the young plants with the love of a mother tending a young family. I sheltered them from the harsh salt winds and shaded them from the midday sun until, like young adults, they were strong enough to fend for themselves.

White mold and other diseases often threatened the crop and I frantically searched the internet looking for an organic solution rather than using fungicides. Unfortunately, the limited options available and lack of success resulted in many organic pipe-dream failures. My main concern in using chemicals was the devastating effect on the bees and other wildlife.

I watched as bees pollinated the flowers of cucumbers, courgettes and tomatoes with the promise of a feast of home grown fruit and vegetables in the weeks to come.

Different varieties of lettuce grew in containers as were spring onions, radish, peppers, melons and chives; all basking in the sun just waiting to grace my next salad bowl.

The taste of fresh produce served straight from plot to plate within minutes and so different to that of irradiated foods which have been boxed, transported halfway round the world, and then dumped on the supermarket shelves.

My vegetable garden was like stepping through Alice’s mirror to my own wonderland where I felt at peace with myself and at one with nature.

So what happened?

My neglected raised vegetable area

My neglected raised vegetable area

‘Roots’.

Readers who have been following my blog for some time may remember my previous post about the root problem caused by the close proximity of the melaleuca hedge. A problem I thought I had resolved by lining the base of the raised bed with a membrane. All was fine for a year, and then I noticed the plants were no longer thriving. When I dug into the soil it was no more than a nest of roots, so you can imagine my language was a little more than sky blue!

Defeated by Mother Nature I abandoned my wonderland and retreated back through the mirror. I felt disillusioned, and even my tenacious spirit could not rally my enthusiasm as the fruit bushes and strawberries growing in containers were left untended and unloved…

As the winter turned to spring and the milder weather tempted me once more to revisit my vegetable area I was once again drawn to the family of plants under my care.

The cabbages and lettuce I had planted last October had barely grown in four months and the onions were even less enthusiastic about their living conditions.

Cabbage and lettuce planted last October have hardly grown

Cabbage and lettuce planted last October have hardly grown

The peach tree, which had been the source of such joy last summer when it yielded so many peaches followed by disappointment when I found they were infested with fruit flies, still seemed to be alive. Only time will tell if the lack of water during the winter drought will have an adverse effect.

The lemon tree which was bought as a lime tree four years ago, had one lemon and a multitude of tiny white flowers – well that was a result. The leaves yellow but still clinging to life and giving its all.

As I continued to examine the plants in the various containers I felt heartened that they had all survived. I surveyed the variety of large empty pots and crates and once again felt excited at the prospect of growing a salad crop. Now was the time for action and a visit to the market was required.

So what next?

Sigh… I don’t know.

– Do I dig out all the soil (again), concrete the base and then add another couple of tiers of bricks and replenish the soil?
– Cover with black plastic membrane to suppress the weeds and then move all my containers on to the raised bed? The latter would be the easier option but it would restrict the type of fruit and vegetables I would be able to grow?
– Knock the whole thing down and forget it existed and persuade Mr. Piglet to get some chickens?

Seriously, what would you do?

The cost of the first option could be prohibitive but on the other hand this is my hobby and it gives me great pleasure. It would involve employing some muscle to undertake the project and muscle costs money!

The second option would look and feel and like a bodge job.

The third option – well that’s a joke in case he reads this blog post.

I went to the market on Monday and bought lots of plant plugs and strawberry plants.

As for what happens next – watch this space!

Fat Clothes for Fat People

Or should that read Outsize clothes for Oversized people?
I’m sorry if this is not politically correct but I’m fat. I also come from an age where we did not cloak the truth in jargon as in: “I’m bodily challenged”. The harsh reality is that I’m a porker a porklet of grand proportions and I’ve been in denial for years. And I’ve had enough.

Fat clothes

Fat clothes

The final straw came when I was trying to buy some new clothes for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Okay, we are not exactly spoiled for choice for ‘fat’ clothes in the Algarve but I do expect shops to have a little more on offer than jumpers with horizontal stripes (or hooped jumpers as I call them), and round neck tops, both of which accentuate my bulging proportions rather than playing them down.

So here’s a plea to fashion designers: I beg you, please don’t design clothes that make us porkers look fatter. I can eat more cake and chocolate for that privilege. Design clothes that make us ‘appear’ thinner. I realise you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear but I beg you to at least try.

Why the horizontal stripes on all the tops and cardigans? Do you really want to make us look as wide as we are tall? Are you the designers skinny minnies laughing at our body shape?

Will it make me look fat?

Will it make me look fat?

What happened to the flattering V neck tops and dresses? I’m looking for fashionable tops to slim me down to make me feel good about myself. Not some shapeless sack.

And flattering does not include dresses and tops which make me look like a marquee. I want style!

Nor do I want to be perusing the maternity fashion rails. Have you tried this? Sigh…

Please share your fashion horrors… or fashion tips.