Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Faro, Portugal (cluck cluck cluck)

Last weekend, a very good friend - and Exeter-based jeweller, more on that later - celebrated her last days of 'freedom' in some serious style.

I was invited by Kyrenia and her Chief BMaid little sister Milly to Kye's hen do, which would involve spending a few glorious days in the sun... in Portugal.

YES PLEASE.

Milly and Kye's parents own a beautiful property where they spend six months each year enjoying their retirement and the delicious dry air near a small town called Marmalete, just an hour's drive from Faro. It's remote, peaceful and - I don't use this word lightly - stunning.

Faro is a 2.5-hour Flybe flight from Exeter, so if you're lacking in summer holiday ideas if this glorious heatwave should come to an end, then here are a few cheeky snaps to inspire.

We started off, totally giddy with excitement in the lounge on Friday afternoon, waiting for our plane in style...


A few hours later and totally exhausted, we arrived at the villa and waited for the others to arrive with a glass of much-needed ice cold Portuguese wine. I spied the glow of a swimming pool, and my excitement for the weekend was cranked up a notch or two...
 

In the morning we enjoyed a scrummy breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and sourdough bread, made by an old lady just up the road from Martin and Jutta's villa.



We headed to Meia Praia beach in Lagos on the South coast for a relaxing day.



Milly had arranged for us to recline like film stars on luxurious canopied beds, much more comfortable than a sandy towel on the beach!

 
Bahia beach bar serves excellent clean-living smoothies, so packed full of fruity goodness they made my mouth tingle.



After an afternoon reclining by the pool, it was time to get ready. Our brief from Milly had included the instruction to 'bring a white dress', so we all got dolled up in our finest, before a night of classy frivolities, fit for our classy bride.


I wore a vintage dress so can't give a link, but for something similar, try Relevant on Fore Street and Willow will be able to hook you up.




As I mentioned before, Kye is a very talented jeweller and here is one of my all-time faves of her designs. Lucky Fran was given this by Kye for her 30th birthday, but if it takes your fancy, check out Kye Tew Jewellery for something similar.


Kye and I had treated ourselves to a pedicure at UK Nails in the Harlequin Centre, the day before we left. It was excellent and very thorough - I nearly lost it through giggling during the pumice stone - and it meant our feet were fit to be shown off in snazzy wedges.






Here we are, in all of our white finery!


L-R: Beth, me, Milly, Kye, Rhi, Charlotte, Fran and Emily

Kye and Milly's parents had prepared a wonderful supper for our Big Party Night, and we couldn't wait to tuck in!




Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine, made from green grapes. It's very light - about 9% - very young and refreshing. Perfect on its own or as a spritzer!


We had a totally delicious supper full of chats, games and giggles, then headed out into Lagos - a 30-minute drive away - for a night of dancing. As it was a hen do, this is as far as the photos go, I'm afraid... I can, however, divulge that Lagos is an excellent night out. Everyone was super friendly and fun, there was no hassle, great music and far too many cocktails. It was great.

On the Sunday, all slightly blurry and tired from the night before, we headed to Montes de Cima to go to Caso do Palmeiral, a B&B owned by friends of the family. When we arrived, the owners Will and Trish had arranged a bit of a spread...


Before we settled down to the incredible-sounding paella, I took myself off to take a few snaps, to show you how gorgeous this place is. 


I met Will and Trish's pooches, too. Bonzo is the happy chap on the right. Trish rescued him from the PUBLIC DUSTBIN; he had no fur and was in a very poorly state. Now look how sprightly he is!!


We sat down to some asparagus, tapenade and olives before the main event...



...which was so scrummy I've taken a few beauty shots for your (my) enjoyment.




As this was still technically a 'hen do', the men dutifully took themselves away to drink beer and chat 'man stuff'.


It was a wonderful afternoon and if you're ever inspired to travel to Portugal, do look Casa do Palmeiral up, it's well worth a look.

The next day we travelled to the west coast, to Amoreia beach. Unfortunately for us, we caught it on a cold day!

 
 
No, your eyes are not deceiving you - this is not Hartland! The temperature dropped to 17 degrees and, as we had been prepared for 30 and up, we were a tad chilly...


The cold did give us an excellent excuse to chat, drink coffee, and for me to try some Portuguese treats, namely the Pastal de Nata (front), which is a delicious, custard-filled naughtiness. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and you'll be in seventh heaven... if you like custard and cinnamon, of course.


Just in case the food hasn't swayed you, here's a few more beauty shots of the surrounding area near Faro. 








It's pretty special.


Martin and Jutta, thank you for a wonderful stay, and please let me come back!


Ax

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