Browsing Tag



Things to do in Mallorca

October 24, 2014


If you are looking for a getaway and not spending too much money, Mallorca is a great option. As  England is bracing itself for the cold weather, a few days in the sun and balmy temperatures is just what the doctor ordered.



As it’s low season, you can find flights as cheap as £50 one way and there are plenty of good and economical options on Airbnb. We stayed for three nights with a really nice couple at a very central location, with a great view of the port and mountain and two lovely cats, for little over £100.


Palma de Mallorca seems to be very popular with Germans. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Germans in one place (yes, I’ve never been to Germany, tut tut). For the first time in my life I was spoken to in German, which was confusing because I don’t think I look German in the least. Not that it is important but nonetheless funny.


First night we had dinner at La Boveda. Tapas and good wine, finished by sorbet de limón con cava. Paid an average of 50 euros per person but worth every cent. Delicious food. Don’t miss out on the boquerones, the smoked ham, the pimientos de padrón and the squid in black sauce.


On the second day we went for a drive in the countryside and  around the island.




Rock On!


We went through the Tramuntana mountain on the way to Sollér, and you go through a carved up tunnel (you pay 5 euros toll, for a regular car).





Stopped for lunch at Port de Valldemosa, at the Es Port restaurant. If you don’t like seafood and fish, go somewhere else, as there isn’t a lot of options on the menu, other than maritime creatures. Great food, 30 euros average per person.




As you make your way around the island, there’s plenty of scenic views, where you can park your car and stop for a couple of pics. And cats. Loads of cats to play with and take pictures of – I was in heaven!



In the old town centre in Palma de Mallorca,  the windy roads hide some architectural gems, as I was occasionally surprised by a few Art Nouveau buildings, with gorgeous details. The light is incredible and great for taking photos too.



If you want to do some shopping, there are options for all budgets, from high end to high street prices. There are plenty of quirky shops too, just don’t expect much on the vintage side of things, as I didn’t see anything. There are a lot of local handicrafts available though and I would recommend taking a look at the bags made of straw and other vegetable fibers.




The older part of Palma de Mallorca has an interesting mix of old and new. There is some street art to be seen every now and then.




I have to also say that in this weekend I couldn’t help noticing the large number of penises scrawled around on walls, dirty windows, you name it. I didn’t bother to document them all but you can see what I’m talking about. Very rude!




The cathedral was quite a sight. It took my breath away, as I entered and saw how big it was. The stained glass roses are definitely a must see and there are a handful of interesting pieces in the cloisters museum.




Another nice place for dinner is Quina Creu, with a great selection of wines, tapas, pintxos and other main courses. Definitely worth a visit.




During the day you can eat tapas in terraces all across town (or the whole island, even) and stuff yourself with jamon iberico, a delicious specialty. funnily enough a lot of things including the food made me think about home, which wasn’t a bad thing per se. It just made me feel very comfortable.


I really enjoyed these days away and I would definitely be happy to go back. The combination of affordable great food and travel, with sunny weather and beautiful landscapes definitely make Mallorca a destination to go back to.


Travelling by train in the UK – some tips

June 5, 2014


Are you thinking of taking the train somewhere?  I think about it all the time… I usually say that the best feature about Grantham is the train station! I take it to go to the airports or to just go somewhere else in the country. I ride the train frequently… it’s my life line to the rest of the world. As such, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to navigate it. 

Buying the tickets

  • Try to get them in advance, as much as possible. Check the for prices and just to make sure you are getting the best deal, also check the train company’s own website, as that might save you at least the booking fee. Alternatively, try Take The Train as it will spot the cheapest ones for you straight away.
  • If you find that your trip is way too expensive, try buying separate tickets for the different parts of the journey. It sounds weird but it works in some situations – for example: a ticket from Grantham to London, during peak times can cost on average £86 or more. If you get a ticket to Peterborough at around the same time, it can cost you as little as £6 or £7, up to £11, depending on the train. If you then get another ticket from Peterborough to London, you can get it for £29 or £31 on average. It’s still not dirt cheap but it almost halves the cost of the initial ticket. It doesn’t make much sense why it is like this, but it’s worth trying. If you’re on iPhone, you might want to try the app Tickety Split (up until this date, I don’t think there is an alternative for Android, sadly). I’ve never used it (I’m on Android) but it does the ticket splitting for you. Check out what the MoneySavingExpert has to say about it. Needless to say, you should try and avoid peak times at all costs.
  • You can also try buying two separate singles, as it might work out cheaper than buying a return ticket. Unless, of course, you want to buy an open return.
  • Most train companies will offer a group discount for parties of 3 to 9 people. Check here before you buy as it might be worth it.


Make yourself comfortable

  • Most inter-cities trains will have power sockets, so I always book the window seat. It might not be the best arrangement if you need the toilet, but I also avoid that as much as possible. At least you know that your phone won’t be out of juice by the time you arrive to your destination or if you’re on a very long trip, why not plug in your laptop or tablet and watch a movie?
  • When I take an early train (as is sometimes necessary, when catching flights) I also like to have my cushion handy, not just for the flight. As it’s early, most people will also be napping, so do the same!
  • When I’m not watching my pennies too closely, I actually like to buy a hot drink at the station, especially during those horrid grey and cold days. My favourite is the chai latte. Yum! Other than that, avoid buying food or drinks at the station – it’s usually a rip off.


Don’t forget to mind the gap! Do you have any suggestions of your own?


Valentine’s… on a budget.

February 7, 2014

In the spirit of money saving, I decided that my husband should get a handmade present this year for Valentine’s day. I wish we could spend it together but sending something very personal through the post is the next best thing. It’s all about showing affection and that is something that doesn’t have a price, so measuring love by the money spent on the day makes as much sense as an ice sculpture in the Sahara. I found a lot of ideas on Pinterest and picked a couple I could easily make. As it’s Friday today, why not try it over the weekend?

I went shopping and got myself a few items:

  • Book covering roll £0.69
  • Hearts and stars stickers £1.09
  • Coloured paper £1.00
  • Set of 10 glue sticks £1.00
  • Deck of cards £2.00

All the other bits and bobs like the ribbon, the magazines and the lipstick I already had lying around the house.

It’s pretty straight forward – you make a little book with the playing cards as its pages. You write one thing you love about your partner on each of them – I chose to handwrite them because I don’t have a printer – and find adequate images to mach your sentiments. And it’s done. It took me a few hours but I was happy with the result. Now he knows 52 reasons I love him, although there are plenty more.

As we live apart, I had to post it, so I also took another inspiration and made him an envelope full of my kisses. Very cute and easy to make: Apply lipstick, kiss the paper and cut them out. Set them up on book covering roll and cut them all out again. Simples!

Kiss factory.

What are your plans for Valentine’s day?


Last minute: I’m joining the Great British Budget challenge in February!

January 31, 2014

Join the Great British Budget Challenge
It’s unusual for me to make 2 posts in one day but I was just invited to join a group of other fantastic bloggers in the Great British Budget challenge. This is a campaign organized by the folks over at and design to encourage people to learn to budget and save money.

As you may have read on my New Year’s resolutions post, it is one of my objectives for the year to reduce my consumption of clothes, shoes and beauty products in general and save more money for travelling. This year I want to go home to Portugal, visit my sister in Barcelona and visit Berlin as I won 2 nights at the Westin Grand hotel and I’ll definitely need to take advantage of them. So this came just in the right time. In January I managed to save £100, in February I want to save £200 or more.

Fortunately I don’t have any debt to pay off but I do need to be more careful with my money and change my priorities. I never got a credit card because I work in debt management and I have the idea that for someone who is financially disorganized like me they are the devil. (Who am I trying to fool? I’m pretty disorganized with a lot of things.) The reality is, I don’t need a new pair of shoes every month – I have too many already and I’m drowning in clothes.  It’s embarrassing, really.

So this is how it’s going to be: I’ll continue to not spend any money on clothes and will avoid spending money thoughtlessly, as I tend to do it often. the pennies do add up and sometimes I lose track of how much money I spent just on stupid small things… Hopefully I’ll still be able to enjoy a lot of good things (trips to London, eating out once or twice) and still leave money in the bank, if I’m smart.

I’m really looking forward to learning all the money saving tips from all the other fantastic bloggers that will be joining the Expert panel – I will surely need them! We will also be receiving emails with updates and motivation.

The bit that’s convinced me to join the campaign was the photo challenges. What a fun way to share tips and ideas on social media and to get to know new bloggers – my social media online marketing executive alter ego is loving the idea.

Gotta love some social media action and the chance of winning shopping vouchers. Join me in this challenge, it’s going to be fun and thrifty!

PS: I didn’t get paid to do this post, just offered a complimentary bottle of bubbly. I joined the campaign because I believe it will help me and other people!


Candy Cane DIY Gift Wrapping

December 18, 2013

This year I decided to add a more personal touch to my gift wrapping – I used to do this often years ago, back when I had more free time and more energy. It was worth making the effort as I had what I thought was a good idea. Most of the items can be inexpensive and the ones that aren’t, you can reuse several times, like the stamps and their ink pads. I picked the colour scheme and that the theme would revolve around candy canes, so I got to work, gathering all the items.

What you will need :

  • Kraft paper (can be bought in stationery sections of supermarkets, pound shops, etc).
  • Twine (I got mine from Ebay here – there’s a few more colours available, if you fancy a different theme).
  • Stamps (I found a set of 4 for 99p plus postage on Ebay. Although they are not particularly festive, it can pass as such, imo, plus I can always use them all year round).
  • Stamp ink pads (possibly the most expensive items I got, purchased from Ryman).
  • Candy Canes (I got them in 2 different sizes, the big ones in boxes of 12 and the smaller ones in boxes of 36, each box for £1 at Poundland).

So I got to work, happily stamping away.

After I was happy with the area I covered in stamps, I cut out the section of paper I needed and wrapped a gift:

Ta Da! Simple and relatively inexpensive. I rather like the way it turned out. How about you?