I don’t want to appear younger than my years. It’s perfectly OK that I look my age.
I know the beauty industry tries to convince us that we need to look at least 10 years younger than our true biological age, but why? I’ve received messages telling me I look ten years younger, and also 10 or more years older, it really doesn’t matter how old I look, its how old I feel, and I feel the same as I did when I was 18. I eat a varied whole food plant based diet, exercise daily, limit my time on social media and I spend lots of time in nature. It takes effort to feel good, sadly there’s no magic pill. I feel full of energy and ready to take on any challenge. More on this another day, I write less on Instagram posts as the limit on the number of words is too challenging for me!
I took this shot on arriving home from the construction site. My hair was covered in dust and was happily doing it’s own thing. I wandered into the bathroom and picked up the scissors. You see, my hair is falling out. … It’s normal. I have an under active thyroid and it causes my hair to wave goodbye to my scalp by the handful. Sometimes more than others. It’s OK, it’s only hair. 10 minutes of snipping and I have a shorter style.
It doesn’t matter if I look 54, 64 or even more. I just hope I look healthy and happy, as that’s my only wish.
This week there was a major change to the landscaping behind the house, so we needed to bring in the big cats to make the earth move. The land, which is a mix of 50% limestone and 50% top soil will be excavated and moved to the front of the property.
In my YouTuve video I give you a full 360 degree tour and also explain a couple of compromises I’ve had to deal with. Don’t forget to hit the like button on YouTube if you enjoyed the video, subscribe if you want to keep up to date with my build and hit the bell icon to be notified when I post more content on there.
We had a small digger onsite for a couple of days, but it wasn’t up to the job of moving so much earth once we decided that we could no longer afford the concrete wall we’d planned for the north of the property. In this episode I will give you this week’s update and show you the new landscape features. I am going to visit site again tomorrow to discuss the drop away of land in front of the infinity pool and take a look at what the big cat team have been up to.
Big cats bringing us some hammer time!
Most of the stone behind the house is limestone, but we hit a new patch of granite so we needed the huge mechanised hammer to break a new access to the higher land to the north. The hammer costs more money per day- wear and tear on the machinery plus the operator probably needs therapy after spending the day being on the end of the world’s largest and loudest hammer. I will take some video tomorrow if he’s still drilling away so you can see just how impressive this piece of kit is. You can check out my last blog post here and episode 3 on YouTube here
We hadn’t intended to spend so much time onsite for this visit, it was supposed to be an office meeting plus a drive by of the site. Needless to say after a couple of hours onsite my hair was full of dust and my jeans looked like I’d been playing 5 a side football.
Check back next week for another update. You can send me message via the contact page by clicking here.
Welcome to episode 3 of building our new minimalist home in Algarve.
Our dream is to build a minimalist, industrial style, single story home, nestled in the mountains of Loulé, Algarve, facing the Atlantic coast. A low maintenance home and garden, with free power and water, needing no extra input from mains services once complete. Add to that a kitchen garden and edible plants in the landscaping and we can work towards self-sufficiency in the future. I’m loving every minute of the process and excited to see the build progress each week.
This week we have a bit of a lull in construction whilst we move earth and rock around site in preparation for the east wing which is the ruin we have incorporated into the design. The ruin was a smallholding with goats many years ago, and most recently (we can see it hasn’t been used for at least 20 years), it had been used as a hillside small laundry/washhouse. Today I share; some of the designs which inspired me, a stroll around the land from east to west, our design and the new minimalist lifestyle which we have embraced to let go, free ourselves of possessions and provide us with more freedom.
Subscribe on YouTube to be notified when I post new videos. The team are onsite 6 days per week, pushing to finish the concrete and steel for us as they have lots of other jobs waiting!
Lots of time to think over the past week due to the slight delay with the ruin demolition, so I’ve come up with a change of use for 3 of the bedrooms. I shall explain…
Through the years
We started this build process 5 years ago after selling our large family home in the UK. We had hoped that the whole process would be complete within 2 years, even with delays (wishful thinking!). Well, we certainly didn’t factor in the painfully long length of time that Loulé planning would take to approve both our planning application and the construction licence, plus a pandemic stopped everything in it’s tracks, but here we are 5 years later with the concrete structure taking shape nicely.
Just the two of us.
Our intention initially was to build a home for our family of three, me, my husband and our son, (who works in the maritime industry and – at the time- was spending long periods away at sea). However, after spending some time in Portugal, our son decided it wasn’t for him, even though he loves the weather, the people and life in general here. What’s missing for him is an abundance of young people… Where are they? Well, they have left to find better paid and more varied work than is available in the south of Portugal. Head north and you will see more young people out and about in the evening – which is surprisingly a rare sight in Algarve.
This is the original design submitted to planning with 5 en-suite bedrooms. Scroll down for the updated use of surplus bedrooms as scribbled/edited by me (very badly!).
Memories of muddy pups and soggy socks
So…. then there was just the two of us to live in the house with the prospect of regular visits from our son. I’m not going to bore you with all the toing and froing but we were selling the project, then we weren’t, then we were….well you get the idea. We moved back to the UK in November 2019 to renovate a small cottage we owned there, and spend some time figuring out what we wanted to do. Lots of rain and mud and more rain, soggy dogs and drenched clothing reminded us why we left in the first place. Then the pandemic hit, lockdowns, travel bans, you know how it was. We were stuck there for a while but decided to make the most of it and renovate our cottage. We finished the renovation and listed the house January 2020 which sold within a week or so. Fast forward a few weeks and we were on our way back to Portugal to finish this project once and for all.
All in my head
My husband sees this as an investment, he doesn’t have any emotional connection to it at all, he just sees profit. For me, I have invested a lot of time and effort designing the layout of the house and have considered every detail of the build and finished project over and over in my head. I’ve spent hours in my imagination, opening doors, looking at light switches, placing artwork and trying out different options for exterior flooring finishes. I can see it finished and enjoy spending time in this home in my head. I didn’t think this was unusual until I mentioned it to my husband, who informs me this is not normal to be able to walk around a virtual house in my head. Maybe it’s my magical power – does anyone else have this ability?
Investment vs dream
We designed the house with five en-suite bedrooms to maximise the profit. However, we are just two people, why would we need so many bedrooms? This past week it hit me that we could actually be living in this house by the end of this year. I guess I didn’t think too much about the reality of moving in, as lots of people including my architect and engineer told me it would be sold before we finish it. The reason being, there are lots of people with more money than me who will pay top dollar for a unique and NEW home. There are some people who only buy new. I have already declined a very nice offer, but what would I buy instead? Ultimately of course, everything has a price and I may not be able to decline crazy offers if they come my way, but for now, I am going ahead to finish it for us as our dream home rather than with only re-sale in mind.
This brings me to the changes I’ve made this week to the function of the rooms. Instead of 5 bedrooms, we will have 2 master bedrooms, an office, a chillout/music lounge and a spa room.
Very 'la-di-da' Spa
What do I mean by ‘a spa room’ I hear you ask? The family bathroom on the east side will be designed as home spa bathroom. I’m going to spend a lot of time designing this room which will have a circular tub, next to glass doors opening out onto a small terrace with an outdoor shower. The bedroom next to this will support the use of the pool. I shall explain…. The spa room (which can easily revert back to its original use as a bedroom) will have towels, bath robes, spare swimsuits, toiletries etc and act as a changing room for visitors using our pool. It will also be where I practice yoga and meditate. I will use it for home beauty treatments and my own personal salon – a sort of beauty room. So basically, I have claimed this room for myself, a quiet, tranquil space for me, but with the added use for visitors using the pool.
At the other end of the house on the west side, we will have a music/chillout room. A place where we can go and lounge on a huge day-bed to escape the summer heat, without worrying about a damp swimsuit or wet hair. Somewhere to listen to music in comfort, surrounded by comfy cushions and throws. This could also double as a spare bed if a tipsy visitor decides to stay over. My husband wanted this as an office, but it’s a waste of a room with an amazing ocean view, just to have a desk and an office chair, so he’s been shuffled eastwards next to the spa room. I don’t need an office as I’m happy to work anywhere, however I’ve made a claim on the space in the basement/garage with panoramic views of the ocean, to use as a studio / workshop for all my art projects and silversmithing.
More big changes this week.
This week we have the transformation of the ruin going ahead, so I will be back with another video before the end of the week. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube(click here) and tap the little bell icon to be notified when I post something new. Thanks for stopping by!
Made from granite and perched on the highest point in the village, the espigueiros do Soajo are used to store grain away from vermin and water.
Join us on our trip to explore Peneda Gerês National Park in northern Portugal – Spain. Then on to Soajo mountain village with amazing stone Espigueiros, hiking and wild swimming. We drove from Algarve in the south of Portugal to enjoy some cooler temperatures, hiking and swimming with our two Hungarian Vizsla in the North of Portugal. We visited Gerês, Peneda Gerês National Park, entered into Galicia Spain, and then a few days in Soajo.
We only intended to use Soajo as a base, but we fell in love with the peace and tranquility of the granite mountain village. I’ve included a tour of our rental property, which I highly recommend.
Filmed in July 2021, I completely forgot to share this video on my blog. It brings back such happy memories and I can’t wait to visit again this year.