tisdag 20 september 2016

Travelling Portugal 2016 - Part 1 Mira Daire

Mira Daire - an anonymous preciosity 

This Summer we stayed in Portugal for two weeks. We flew from Copenhagen to Lisbon with TAP, excellent service and it took us only about 3 and a half hours. The flight begun at (the horror) 6 am!!! So between the bird early flight and the time difference we were done with the car rental by 10:00. 

Now I wont lie to you. I am a planer, the kind that literally comes to the airport with a folder containing all tickets, rental plans, and so on... So the plan was to drive from the airport to this place I had only driven by and wished to visit, Mira Daire. It took us just over an hour to arrive, because Lisbon traffic is quite ok at 10 am, the highways in Portugal are pretty good and the GPS took us right on the target. 

Now if you are the kind of traveller that want to see more than beaches and bars in Portugal I recommend the caves at Mira Daire, but you do need some help. For starters the village has three ways of writing its name: Mira Daire, Mira de Aire and... Mira D'aire. All three are the same place! 

I had booked a bungalow for our family. The bungalows are located near the exit from the caves, about 300 meters down road from the entrance to the caves. 
Just press the bungalow you like and fill in the form. The guy ahead of the bookings will answer you personally. Here's some help  to fill in the form: 
nome = name
data de entrada = check in date 
transcreva os seguintes números = write the following numbers 

The cave visit was really nice, just ask for a guide that speaks english. Our guide was not that good, he spoke like he was bored, we had a good laugh at it. The caves however are stunning!!! My poor Iphone 4's camera does not do any justice to the beauty of the caves.

The little pool 

Mira Daire is a small, very small village located in the top of a mountain. The company that has the rights to the guided visits also owns a nice restaurant and gift shop just by the entrance of the caves and owns the bungalows. My kids loved the gift shop. But they loved even more the water park that is just downstairs from the bungalow area. You see, we could be at the water park certain hours for free. If you ask my kids, the water park is the best thing about Mira Daire. For us adults it was great too. Not too small not too big, just perfect for our 6 and 10 years old children to play and practice their swimming after a day of adventures.

I loved the bungalows. We had a table outside and it was perfect to eat outside. We could do basic cooking so we enjoyed a few meals looking over the forest and the sunset over the mountains. Just outside the village you can find a bigger grocery store or you can buy food in the smaller village stores.

Outside the bungalow we had our own garden as you can see on the pictures. 
So we were there for two nights and we loved it. Just book ahead and ask the locals. Have fun!

måndag 11 april 2016

Rabbit hut - part 2

I'm Here's how the rabbit hut turned out! 
I wanted it to have a clean design, a pretty interior and to be functional. 
I gave it wheels so we can move it around the house according to our and our rabbit's needs. 

Then I cut the cabinet's legs, worked on my "wax in, wax of" with sand paper all around it. I put it together, opened a hatch so the rabbit can move around both floors. I painted it a few times, put hens net on three of it's four doors, painted the knobs with golden spray. 
 Made a ramp (the hardest part of the project), made a hey-dispenser out of hens net... 
And finally I had a lot of fun decorating the interior of the hut. My new best friend is spray-glue! I had old shaders that I glued to the walls and floors. I even made a matching different wall with plastic film. 
And voilá! A rabbit hut is done! It's prettier and it turned out to be more economic that the pre-fab.s you can get online or at pet shops! 
And the rabbit seems to enjoy it!

Rabbit hut - part 1

Here's the reason why I haven't written for a long time... I have been building a rabbit hut and I wanted to be done before I could write about it! 
A month ago I bought two second hand office cabinets and I remodeled them into a rabbit hut.

I really wanted them to look nice and match our home decoration. I had a lot to do!
I love to paint and know my way around brushes and paint, however I have never really had interest for "carpentering"... So I don't have any knowledge about it. I just took the tools we had at home that seemed fitting for me and when I needed advice I asked my husband and did all work according to his advice.
See the result on my next post! 

lördag 27 februari 2016

Cork me up!

Did you know that Portugal is the world's largest cork producer? 

Portugal produces 50% of the world's cork. Cork is removed carefully according to traditional methods from the corktree.

You might be thinking cork as in wine bottles and flooring. However you can use this vegetable and eco-friendly material in so many other ways!

The cork industry seems to have grown as a necessity to reinvent Portuguese products due to the economic crisis.

You might find the traditional stuff such as pin-boards like this:

The building industry uses cork on flooring, sealing material, wall covering material, furniture, mattresses, acoustic sealing and so on.

But you can now also find new beautifully designed products of all kinds, such as purses, wallets, hats, clothing, jewelry, chocolate cases...  You name it!

For example this wallet my cousin gave me on Christmas and this lovely hand made chocolate case that has a magnet incorporated so I can save a bit of the case on my refrigerator door when I eat the delicious exclusive chocolate it encases.

How can I help you to cork you up?

You can see other cork products here.
If you want to know more about cork you can find information on the industry here.
You can also find information on the design products here.
Contact me and I will be happy to inform you on which companies you can find what you are looking for in the Portuguese cork world!

lördag 13 februari 2016

Genetics versus environment - The Matos-gene

In my family we makes jokes about "the Matos-gene". Let me explain that...
My grandfather on my father's side was Emilio R. R. de Matos, a music genius with a high general knowledge (although antiquated and sometimes stuck in the 1950's). He could tell you stuff about german grammar now, then on Art History, Physics and discuss detailed Music History and technical aspects of Music and so on  However, and as it often seems to be the case with geniuses, we lacked social skills, highly!

As a old timer Sheldon Cooper my grandfather had his own routines on how and when things were supposed to happen. The main subject of his "special routines" was meals. He would sit exactly at a certain time every and each day at the same way by his clearly own spot at the table, with the same expression on his face and waited to be served. He had special forks and knives, plates and glasses and we would fold his napkin the same way, every single time, no exceptions made!

Then he would eat slower than a tortoise. He was the first one to seat at the table and we would finish do the dishes (by hand) as he would slowly took his coffee. Now of course that it would't be strange if his sons and daughter would have their special habits too. Not is it strange that some of us grandchildren, me included, have our habits, or even the great-grandchildren (especially my son and my cousins oldest daughter) have their special habits. We make jokes about those habits and refer to them as the "Matos-gene" or the Matos-legacy.

Now, the funny thing is that my pet has funky habits that kind of remind me of the "Matos-gene"! Then we have a Genetics v/s environment question or just a coincidence...
My pet rabbit, Oscar, has a special way of eating. He throws the bowl upside down spreading the food all over the cage floor and then he will meticulously picks what he wants to eat leaving everything else... So thats for genetics v/s environment or do we all (pets included) have a little Matos inside of us?    

onsdag 3 februari 2016

The lodge at Hovfjället

A dream lodge...

I am not the kind of person that goes around with hidden agendas. I open my heart lightly on what I aim for. That too aplies to my dreams. I often dream of having a house or lodge in the Portuguese countryside, especially in the mountains. 

I put a lot of effort and time to look for houses for sale and design different possibles ways to recover those houses. They are often on sale as ruins. I would love to be able to recover old houses in Portugal and then sell them. However I am not ready to quit my day job. Not yet, anyway... 

While dreaming is great, living a bit of our dreams is even better. I had the change to live a bit of my lodge dream although in the Swedish mountains in Värmands, at Hovfjället.  

We stayed in this lovely lodge halv way up to the skiing facilities and way in the woods. We shared the house with a couple of friends and their kids. Together we were 4 adults and 5 children, ages 2 to 9. The house seems little but it has 9 beds. 
                         We had a functional kitchen, a widen living room space and a functional bathroom. The kitchen was full equipped, even though somethings had been there since the lodge was built in the 1980's. 

Actually we had more coverts, plates, glasses (even champagne glasses) and much more than we expected when we booked it. 

We were there a week around New Year's eve and the owner had fixed the lodge with Christmas' decorations which made it somewhat family friendly and cosy for us. 

I really love a fireplace! I do not appreciate skiing so when we were booking I said that I could take care of practical issues and accept a skiing trip if, and only if we had a fireplace. I sat there a lot on the afternoons while the others were skiing.  Besides it was very practical because as you can see we could dry our clothes over the fireplace. So we came all home for lunch and while we ate and the kids rested and played inside their and our clothes would dry and got warm. I usually went up to the skiing facilities on the mornings to help the other adults with the kids. 

 One feature that I really loved and feared in the lodge was the loft rooms.
The use of the whole attic roof space is not only smart, it is playful and a bit romantic.

The thing is those ones were not safe, because the were wide open with no kind of gates or barriers and the ladders are quite steep... Ad 5 kids from 2 years to 9 years old and you have a recipe for disaster if you're not on the top of every climbing and playing near the edge of the lofts...

 Still I loved the lofts and I dream of a house or lodge I can recover where I can build (or plan and pay someone to build for me) a lodge and my own designed bunk beds. 

Anyhow if you are in the mood to ski or just to do like me and appreciate the Swedish mountains and the warmth of a fireplace I truly recommend you to take that trip to Hovfjället and seek for the lodge number 10. Have fun!


söndag 10 januari 2016

Testing Pinterest - 2

As I wrote on my previous post I'am testing stuff I find on Pinterest. It is not a new thing but I really want to test various pins and review them.
Today it is about total glory.
Yesterday I went to the cinema with my son to see Star Wars - the Force awakens. I promised him that we would both dress up for the occasion and that gave me a chance to test 3 pins.

Pin - DIY Darth Vader costume 

I followed these instructions. They lived to their promise; a easy and cheap way to a "DIY" Darth Vader costume. I bought a organic cotton long sleeved black t-shirt and trousers and some tape. We already had the mask, cape and light saber. It took me and the kids about 10 minutes and it costed about 200 SEK in total (about 20 Euros).

My son loved it! I think he loved that we did it together too, even though I guess he would just be happy to have a Darth Vader costume. As for me, I see it as something we did together and the good memories he will have from that afternoon and the visit to the cinema. I just wish I had better photos of us though... 

lördag 9 januari 2016

Testing Pinterest - 1

So I decided to test stuff on Pinterest. This first one will be short. I tried a recipe of Nutella cupcakes (today I will not mention which one and you will understand why). 
I love Nutella and I love cupcakes. What could go wrong? Right?
The recipe came from USA and I read and heard that they usually use more sugar than in other countries. Maybe that was the thing, maybe I got lost in the conversion of cups to deciliters. Maybe the cupcakes were too big, they were certainly too sweet. Maybe I was a bit sick. 
Anyway... When I taste it my tongue stuck to my gum. But it was Friday night and I invited my in laws for dinner with us (me, my husband and our two kids), so I made my best to stuff it all in me and look happy.
Half an hour later in the middle of a Triominos game I had to run away and get rid of that desert at the porcelain throne. Not pretty...
Luckily this is the first thing I tried that didn't work out for me. 
I will soon write about the things that work out better. 
I do still love Nutella though!