Monday, November 24, 2014



Monday morning dawns cold and chilly here in London. I slept soundly last night my husband informs me this morning as I wake up almost an hour later than usual....

I feel refreshed and have new energy and a better outlook on life.


I just spent my weekend with 6 other women in Lisbon on a "Girl's weekend away."

The girls at Heathrow.
We flew first class. (It felt that way to us because we didn't have the kids with us and only had to worry about our own luggage and passports.)

We ate gourmet food. (There were no fast food restaurants on our horizon.)

We stayed in a hotel fit for a King or Queen. (The hotel let us use a fantastic room for our after party at 3 am....)

We shopped. (We could browse and buy at our own pace.)

We laughed and enjoyed each other's company. (In each and every activity we participated in...)

We all brought our individual personalities to the table and made a compelling picture walking down the street in our matching scarves.

We were a force to be reckoned with.

Many large buildings are painted with murals. Brilliant!

I met these other moms at the school just three months ago and now I have friends for life.

Tram on the streets of Lisbon

Beautiful tiles cover the outside of some buildings

View from our hotel room.

A diverse group of women. Three Americans, One Dutch, One Australian, One Columbian and a Brazilian.....sounds almost like the beginning to a good joke but we share many similarities and our differences make this a fascinating dynamic in our group. If the world could have half as much teamwork and fun as we had then the world would be a perfect place.

Friday morning and after dropping the kids off at school, we head to the airport. The excitement is in the air. A chance to do just what we want and leave some of our responsibilities behind is a necessary ingredient so we can "charge our batteries". The daily routine of being a wife and mom ...........could always do with some new energy just because we put everything we have into that and it can sometimes take more energy than we have.

All checked in and through security, we board the plane and make a grand entrance as we ask the stewardess if its ok to move further back in the plane so we can all sit near each other and "party". We didn't want to bother anyone.....  (I am leaving out the story of the less than perfect experience with an airport restaurant..(The Perfectionist) when ordering and eating my salad.....)

We landed and all cleared immigration and customs and were met by the limo driver.  (OK, it was a large passenger van but it felt like a limo because he took our luggage for us and then held the door open for us as we got in.)

Arrived at this most fantastic hotel called Hotel Avenida Palace. WOW. We were treated like royalty and shown to our rooms with our luggage being delivered to us shortly thereafter.
Beautiful room in our hotel, also sight of our late night after party......
I so thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I was along for the ride. Cris had scoped out places to eat and we were amazed with each of the places.

A fantastic foodie market was our first destination for some drink and light tapas before dinner a lot later on. LOVED IT. I TRIED A FEW NEW THINGS.
Mercado Ribeira. YUM YUM

We changed for dinner and took a cab to a fantastic tapas restaurant. Wine, good food, great company and lots and lots of laughs. PERFECT.

Saturday morning breakfast we were treated like royalty in the fantastic breakfast room. Filling up with much needed energy food and water to replenish we were ready to tackle the first activity of the day.

We took a tram to Torre de Belem. Built on the northern bank of the Tagus between 1514 and 1520 as part of the Tagus estuary defence system, the Tower of BelĂ©m is one of the architectural jewels of the reign of Manuel I.
Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem

2nd floor of Torre de Belem

It was beautiful and sunny day as we took in this amazing sight. Then we headed to Lisbon's best place for the typical Portuguese pastry which was absolutely divine. It is called Pasteis de Belem. They make and serve more than 20,000 of these pastries every day. 

Then it was an afternoon of shopping, browsing, some went to the spa and just taking in all the sights and enjoying each others company. 

I was tired by the end of the day as this was a lot of activity for me but thankfully I wasn't exhausted. That is definitely an improvement from just last month. 

Thankfully we had time to take a nap and rest before the big slate of Saturday night activities.  Our limo took us to the restaurant called Cantinho Do Avillez. (A very, very good looking chef who founded this restaurant- he made sure that he hired equally attractive waiters..enough said) (OK- It was just a taxi but it felt like a limo.)

These are the actual items that the chef played with in his Grandma's kitchen when he was growing up.

Magical evening with great food, pretty good singing and a lot of laughing continued when we went to a night club to pass the time until the real party started at the dance club. The night club had the first room as the smoking room which you had to pass through to get to the bar and the rest of the club which was full. We hung out at the bar watching the DJ (in a striped orange 70's style sweater) playing non-commercial music. What the heck is non-commercial music? I took my phone and my play list up to him and said "hey can you play something from Swedish House Mafia?" His reply was that he only plays his own music (which was from a different planet and not conducive to dancing for us.) I need to say that he had grey hair and that the sweater was in fashion when he was 20 years old back in the 70's. Thank god for each other and the big bottle of champagne (or was it wine?). 

OK, now it was time to head over to Lisbon's hippest dance club called Lux. I LOVE CHAMPAGNE. The others danced. I LAUGHED. We laughed and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Enjoying some champagne at the end of the evening!

Back to the hotel and it was after party time. PERFECT.

Breakfast after only a few hours of sleep never tasted so good. Laughing at breakfast and I saw many of the other hotel guests who were jealous of how much fun we were having. Checked out of the hotel and off to explore the city again before heading to the airport and the journey back to reality. 

Thanks Avery, Cris, Charmian, Michele, Zulma and Gena. GRATEFUL.

Why are we strong women? 

We made time for ourselves this weekend and just enjoyed each and every minute "living in the here and now."

We gave ourselves a new perspective on life. I charged my batteries because I was able to leave that yoke of responsibility for the family at home and finally just relax and recharge. I got to see a new city. It is easier to appreciate all the people and family that I have in my life when I can get a "break" from them.

They had missed me a little bit when I came home. Luckily, we fell back into the morning routine and they all made it to school this morning.

Time for the gym......
Then to start planning the next girl's weekend for the Spring....


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