A Spring in his Step

Today No. 4 met me from school with a spring in his step and a “How are you, Mum?” “Fine, thanks.” I smiled. His thoughtful theme continued, “Did you have a good day?” “It’s getting better … ” I laughed. My boy’s line of questioning is a rare and wonderful thing, especially in these latter days of winter. … More A Spring in his Step

The Google Maps Game

Cons: it can be noisy, and causes occasional cries of outrage. Pros: it’s super simple – a global travelling adventure from the comfort of your own home (or office). Born from yet another session of me scolding my kids for being addicted to their screens, they outwitted me by devising a game of which I would approve. The Rules Two … More The Google Maps Game

No Paella in Valencia

It’s not all about paella in Valencia – arroz (rice) can be rustled up a hundred different ways. And Paella Valenciana will be adapted to suit the season and region – and kitchen. But we eat none of it, much to our surprise. Because we stop in these places instead: Bodega Casa Montaña (for the ultimate classic tapas) Ubik Café (for a bit of … More No Paella in Valencia

Café Sant Jaume

It’s a good feeling when you stumble upon a travel gem without even trying. Café Sant Jaume is our small find in the old quarter of El Carmen – only later do I read of its enviable reputation as one of Valencia’s best bars. On the café terrace in the late winter evening, people sip cocktails, cervezas and wine. We step … More Café Sant Jaume

Bodega Casa Montaña

Bodega Casa Montaña has achieved legendary status in legion guides and little black books. Many proclaim it to be Valencia’s top tapas bar, and it’s certainly one of the oldest. It opened its doors as a grocery store in 1836, establishing itself by selling wine and oil to merchant ships moored in the nearby port. The bodega’s reputation for keeping an excellent and extensive wine cellar endures today. And the food is … More Bodega Casa Montaña

Horchatería de Santa Catalina

Horchata de chufa or Orxata (in Valencian) is an unmissable ice-cold treat in Valencia. Cafés that specialise in serving it (Horchaterías) are everywhere, but we head straight for one of the oldest and best-known in town, the Horchatería de Santa Catalina. It’s bustling, and prettily-tiled in a traditional style. Eventually we bag a seat, and order the sugary beverage that … More Horchatería de Santa Catalina

A Lesson in Spanish at Bodega LaPeseta

I wait pathetically, unnoticed and hungry, yet half-amused by my inability to attract attention. My pitiful Spanish renders me invisible – I can’t call out … anything. I know not what to do. My daughter is cautious and unimpressed. Peopled by pretty couples perched on stools, families spread across tables, and gangs of friends catching up, Bodega LaPeseta in the east … More A Lesson in Spanish at Bodega LaPeseta

Lisbon in Five Words

Three days in Lisbon, and a lovely stream of whatsapped photos. It been a brightly-hued break for my husband and youngest son. Which begins with a great deal of excitement. A hop, skip and a jump via the metro … … to their temporary home – a light and airy Airbnb flat (more on Maria’s place here). First port of call … More Lisbon in Five Words