Have you ever seen that episode of Friends, where Monica is trying to get over Richard so Phoebe tries to help by offering her meditation? And Monica has to imagine her happy place to help her relax? Well, for one reason or another, this week I have been dreaming of my happy place with its happy memories. In the end, I was dreaming of so many happy places that I thought it would be a great basis for a blog! So here goes!
1) Nueva Andalucía, Spain
At the top of my list, of my happy places, will always be this peaceful enclave of the south of Spain that I have written about before here and here. At this time of year, it is starting to get warmer there and the days longer to enjoy the warm Spring sun. It's the off season, so still quiet with few tabloid seeking stars around and even fewer hen and stag dos. If I flew there tomorrow, I would spend the afternoon eating soft blue cheese, fresh warm bread and mountains of Serrano ham - all washed down with cold rose. It would be a bit too chilly still to swim it off in the pool, but I would definitely sleep off any food binge slump with a wine induced nap under the warm sun in the garden. In the evening, I would go to the nearby Aloha Golf club for a sundowner followed by a delicious supper of either their incredible Chateaubriand or tasty Paella.
2) A Road Trip Down Highway 1, California
Just under a decade ago, my girlfriend Miss H and I met up at LAX airport, hired a clichéd convertible Mustang and drove up the West Coast over the course of a week or so to the Sonoma valley for some wine tasting. It was easily one of the best holidays I have been on as it mixed stunning scenery with girly chats over cocktails and giggles over huge portioned American meals. I have since done the trip again with the then boyfriend, now husband, and still found it hugely enjoyable. I simply have too many recommendations to list here, but if anyone is thinking of a similar trip, please do contact me here for a long list of tips and must dos. My only regret of my two trips there is that I didn't have a DSLR yet when I visited. If I had, I would have had to have had quite the collection of memory cards.
3) Algarve, Portugal
A personal one for me; near the town of Albufeira is a beautiful sprawling villa that my husband's family is lucky enough to own. Whilst the house itself may be a little dated, it is consequently full of charm and character and importantly the grounds are well established and stunning. The view is quite the looker and I love to see the sun set with a gin and tonic in hand. I have spent many an hour just sitting in the garden either reading, playing scrabble with loved ones or simply looking at the blue sky, content and happy. The beaches nearby are beautiful with many beach bars available for a Sagres and salad or fish for lunch. For supper, I love heading out for Piri Piri chicken with chips, which is so ludicrously cheap, I try to do so as much as possible!
Luckily for me, I am heading to this happy place is a few weeks. I literally can't wait to feel the soft white sand between my toes whilst sipping a Banks beer and looking at the turquoise sea. But it isn't just the idyllic surroundings that make this island a paradise. The locals help make their home an absolutely magical place to visit. We are heading there a little out of season, when it is meant to rain a bit more, but this won't dampen my trip there, as sitting in a rum shack putting the world to rights over a dark and stormy is one of my favourite things to do. I have written about my last trip there here, with any recommendations for anyone interested in visiting.
I could go on! But I won't! I'd love to hear any of your own happy places. Send me an email here.