Bom dia! I write from the foot of a misty mountain where the sun is creeping from behind its black curtain and birds are singing while the odd late star lingers, it is quite beautiful... But let me rewind to last Sunday, which feels like a month away.

Me packed, hair done, make-up on, meals in freezer, kids hugged, the Major prepped, tickets in hand, passport… with the solicitor in another city! Apologies if you heard me swearing – I did shout rather a lot. After much phonecalling/couriering/emailing and crying, managed to get the pesky document back in my mits and hit Heathrow at the crack of a Sparrows fart to arrive in Portugal!

Now, the Portugal of my mind is Albufeira and it’s sister towns, this place however is another world. A couple of hours outside Lisbon, I am steeped in forests, mountains, crystal flowing rivers, white-washed villages perched on the edges of vast lakes. It is simply stunning. 

And I was very glad to arrive. My first hour in Lisbon, I spent locked in a men’s toilet. Having jumped off the plane and desperate (you know what I’m talking about ladies!) I ran along a corridor and into what I thought was the ladies. It was only when I was in the cubicle and men started coming in to use the unacknowledged urinals that I realised my error!

I was too scared to come out as men kept coming in, darn those airplane loos! So I cowered and waited until I heard, with great relief, the swish of a mop against a metal bucket. I knocked gently and started with ‘err…hello…?’ the response was a gabble of Portuguese, which roughly translates as ‘what are you doing, idiot? This is the men’s loo!’ to which I could only knock on the door in reply. Eventually, Benedito, my knight with a shining bucket, blocked the door and allowed me to make my hasty, awkward exit, ‘Obrigado Benedito!’

I have found a haven where I can walk up mountains in the morning and write my latest novel in the afternoon. I am also on the fitness trail! But more about that next week. With every laboured step I take I picture a fat cell going pop and disappearing – hey, it works for me! This is all part of my quest to be trimmer and fitter. I am not going crazy at it, but have set myself the goal of being in better shape than I was yesterday, every day. I feel good and amen to that!

Despite being away, I am keeping a cheeky eye on t’internet and am delighted to see A Little Love break the Kindle top 10! Wooohoooo! Thank you so very much to everyone that has read it, I am over the moon! It’s been quite a week; the paperback edition of Clover’s Child is out this week too and is flying off the shelves, so again, a massive thank you! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  Here’s a blog about Clover’s Child I wrote for Hive x

Right off to slip into my walking boots and get going, those fat cells won’t pop themselves you know!

Have a wonderful week, think healthy and my top tip is; don’t let your old man near your passport!

Laugh lots,

Mandy x