Today we are excited to introduce the winner of our UK guest blogger competition, Julia of the blog Stylonylon! Julia is a freelance journalist based in London and each week we’ll be sharing her guest posts from the UK and her travels around Europe.
It’s all too easy to get caught up with the busy treadmill of day-to-day life, and sometimes it takes jetting off somewhere else to break the cycle and slow things down. I’m guilty of it as much as anyone, and, often busy with my blog, there’s always one reason or another to be plugged into my laptop or phone – posting on my blog, updating social media, replying to emails and just plain old keeping up with the rest of the blogging community.
So a trip to a sleepy valley in southern Portugal was just the change of scene I needed to reset and spend some time offline. The Algarve coast is well known for its busy tourist towns and golf resorts (as well as stunning beaches!) but travel inland a few miles and you’ll find yourself in easy-going rural bliss. With nothing much on my to-do list, I promised myself I’d spend more time offline than on and treat myself to a little soul nurturing in this countryside haven.
September in the Algarve is still summertime. It’s hot enough for sunbathing during the day and it’s still shorts and t-shirt weather through the evening. The blazing heat of July and August dry up a lot of the thick grasses and flowers leaving behind fields of straw and thistles, but I find the corn-yellow colours stunning and the flowers that are left vibrant in colour.
Ripe for picking are deliciously sweet figs and grapes (the pomegranates are almost there!) and past the olive groves, tucked away in an otherwise empty field you might stumble across buzzing beehives. A local yoga teacher sells this yummy and organic honey for 3 euros a pot! Setting off for gentle afternoon walks taking in the world around, my camera in hand, is my idea of the perfect way to wind down and disconnect. Day dreamy walks aside, yoga and shiatsu sessions at a nearby retreat are just what I’ve needed to reset my energies to a more relaxed gear. Lying on the floor of a beautiful whitewashed room with doors opening to a peaceful garden and the soothing flow a fountain can’t help but nourish the soul and feed well being.
I also made sure to spend some time crafting. I’ve always found making things therapeutic and with baskets of beads and feathers to hand, I let my fingers weave and thread my mind into a quieter space, and at the end I had myself a beautiful dream catcher. And, yes, I might have squeezed in just a little outfit post for my blog!
In the end, I couldn’t resist a trip to the local town of Loulé. I’m a sucker for pretty little cobbled streets and faded facades. I set off for a wander, happily snapping away, after picking up a feast of sardines from the morning market. I have a few more days in this paradise and I’m keeping things carefree and come what may, and promising myself to remember how important it is to always go easy and enjoy yourself, or as they say here “Divirta-se”.
Check out Julia’s blog Stylonylon!