Taken Root at Manta Rota

Yup, you guessed, we are still here! Just thought I’d give you all a little update. We’re very settled and contented in this lovely spot. My pine tree outside is covered in twinkly solar fairly lights and decorated with my handmade seashell wind chimes. I’ve got quite a cute little garden thing going on out there now. I’ve planted a chilly plant, lavender and a trough full of seeds so I can pick a my own fresh herbs for cooking. I’m still doing a bit of painting, just my usual childish acrylic stuff, on driftwood, pebbles etc, but I do love it! Keeps me busy. Whilst Mark is happy to lounge around in the sun, I get fidgety. I’ve read a million books already. I do still have issues with switching off so I like to be occupied. I have to be doing stuff or I’d drive himself bonkers! I bake bread, cakes for the campers and do lots of cooking. Days do fly by very quickly out here though. it’s surprising.

Here’s a handy wee recipe I’ve codged together, particularly for you Van folk. Thought I’d share it. Makes a great supper and is comforting if the weather turns a bit inclement. It can easily be cooked in your Remoska or otherwise, hob and oven. You can use lamb, beef, turkey or pork mince. I prefer lamb myself. Here in Portugal if you ask for mince it’s called Picada. You basically point to a piece of lean meat and they mince it. Much healthier than in UK. Very cheap too although lamb not so much. It’s not so widely eaten here so it’s a bit more expensive. Cook the mince first with chopped leek or onion, carrot and celery, a splash of red wine and some stock. If using lamb I add either a tablespoon or two of mint jelly or red currant jelly. If beef, pork or turkey, make that mustard. Dijon or English, it matters not. When that is nice and rich and thick, add a couple of layers of thinly sliced potatoes. I’m using the Remoska but otherwise these will need to be pre-cooked. Steamed, boiled, microwaved whatever. Cook until soft. Top with cauliflower cheese. Sprinkle extra cheddar over it and brown off. It’s delicious and very easy. A one pot wonder for the Remoska. Enjoy!

The weather has been incredible here of late. Such clear bright skies. We are now going to get a bit of rain apparently as the awful Storm Gloria, that has caused such devastating damage in Spain, travels our way as it tapers out. We have games, DVDs, chocolate and Gin at the ready!!

We’re getting daily updates from Matt and Lulu who are enjoying themselves out in Bali. They’re having an absolute blast. Surfing most days and now travelling around the islands. Quite jealous of the 30 odd degrees and seas as warm as a bath. Added that one to my bucket list. It looks amazing. Food looks incredible too. They certainly love their travelling those two. Can’t fault them, they work hard to pay for it. Missing them though. Really need to hug my son now.

Our great friends, Team Barrass, have arrived this week from UK in their new Motorhome. They are loving it, it’s their first time. It’s nice to have a bit of company and they are great fun to be around. We all went to the market at Olhao on Saturday and caught up with one of our work colleagues from Roundhill for lunch. We went to our favourite Fish Grill Restaurant, Vai e Volta. If you visit Olhao you must go there! Don’t try and find it without putting it into Google Maps or you’re likely to flounder. It’s tucked away in the backstreets. For €12 you get starters, several sides, bread and all you can eat fish, many varieties. It’s fresh from the boat and just keeps coming until you literally have to beg them to stop!! The family who run it are wonderfully warm and friendly. I highly recommend it. It only serves fish so not for meat eaters!

The market at Olhao never disappoints. We bought local honey and a slab of Tuna the size of a pillow for just €7! A fantastic string of mixed hot chillies too. Think the guys were suitably impressed with their first Portuguese market. We were all slightly squiffy as we wandered back for our train. Two litres of wine and coffees and brandies at every bar along the way, hardly surprising!! One step forward and two back!

We’ve been busy showing Janine and Graeme around the area. Of course that includes stopping off at all the local bars and eateries, as you do. The local train is really handy for gadding around so nobody has to worry about driving. It’s cheap too. We’re off to Tavira next but not until the wet weather has passed over. Alicante have a foot of snow! Crazy climate changes afoot. We won’t be drifting into Spain until the risk of white stuff is well out of the way. Thought we’d left that behind in Derbyshire! Cadiz will have to wait.

Hope you guys back home are doing ok. Spring is just around the corner, hang on in there! The blossom is coming out everywhere already here in Portugal. The almond looks and smells delicious and the yellow Mimosa is budding everywhere. The air will soon be heavy with the scent.

Well, I suppose I had better get myself off down the beach with the dog. He’s looking at me longingly. He has lots of doggie friends here, he’s very happy and stinks like an old crab most of the time as he’s always in the sea. Glad he’s on Mark’s bed!!

I shall say cheerio for now my lovely friends. Keep warm, stay safe all you travellers and look after you and yours.

Peace and love ❤️


  1. So love your updates and fab to see team Barrass have made it love to hear about the transition from vw to shines new burstner I just fancy doing the same and just like to say I adore your pebbles h xxxx dead jealous


  2. Sounds lovely Michelle! We’re in Spain amid the stormy weather and hoping for some sun! I love your artwork and I’ve sent you a message x


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