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My Mabel
My Mabel

May Is My Favourite {Charlotte}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Even though I only very recently waxed lyrical about my magical March, the month of May will always be my favourite of all. It was the month I got married…a whole 7 years ago (!) cherry blossom is in full bloom and there is the distinct promise of summer.

Romanticism aside, I’m actually seeking a bit of advice from you lovely lot if that’s ok. We’re taking Mabel to Portugal for a much needed week of relaxation and trips to the beach to eat ice-cream and paddle in the sea. Well, we would be if it wasn’t supposed to be relatively chilly and raining. This has never happened to us before. We always always have super weather when we go abroad. What am I supposed to do about all those maxi dresses? wear them with a coat?!

If any of you folks have any suggestions about what to do in the Vale Do Lobo/Quinta Do Lago area when it’s cold and wet they your advice in the comments box below would be much appreciated. As a couple we would be more than happy to watch box sets and read but I’m not so sure a manic two year old would be that enamoured with either option.

It’s my husband James’s birthday on the 13th. I am yet to buy him anything. Anything. And I need to get cracking as essentially I will need to take a gift or two in my suitcase as we’ll be away for the event. Do you have any suggestions for quirky smallish man-gifts that travel well? That I can order like, today? Mabel has already bought Daddy this rather fetching T-shirt in my favourite fruity print, and a snazzy striped jumper from one of THE BEST brands to purchase Men’s knitwear – River Island. Yes you heard it here first.

The only book I have is my already-chosen RMS book club read. Just one book. I usually have at least 4 ready and waiting weeks before I’m due to depart, but I just haven’t been that enamoured with anything I’ve seen recently. Maybe I just haven’t done enough research? Anything easy going/romantic appeals, if you have any suggestions I will love. you. forever.

On the subject of books, I’ve been writing mine. And the experience is entirely different to blogging, as you might expect I suppose. With a post you usually have a relatively short timescale, it has to go live to an audience at a dedicated time – you don’t have the opportunity for a do over. I’ve found so far it’s incredibly tempting to re-write paragraphs (sometimes entire chapters) on the Rock My Wedding publication until my eyes are blurry and I’ve demolished a family bag of malteasers without even realising. This month I’ve told myself I’ll endeavour not to be so critical. However, I can’t promise I’ll seriously try that hard to keep my hands off the chocolate covered honeycomb balls.

In other behind-the-scenes-of-the-business news, I’m super proud of the team securing partnerships with some amazing brands that we’ll be working and styling with this month. We recently created a new campaign for Pandora (they of immense stacking ring fame), you can see me in erm…action, in the slider above. Jewellery is by far the most challenging in terms of product we have ever worked with (so delicate, so detailed – so easy to get lost in too much froth and fancy) but Pandora have been so impressed with the results they are already using the imagery for PR and social media activity.

It’s incredibly easy to get lost in the whirlwind of the day-to-day and planning constant future projects you never actually sit back and take a look at what you’ve already achieved. This month I’m working on improving this situation.

And lastly my Mabel…..she is a constant ray of sunshine and a daily dose of delight.

Have a beautiful May everyone.


Behind-The-Scenes At Pandora: Anna Clarke Photography Mabel In The Daffodils by Lisa at Little Beanies

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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35 thoughts on “May Is My Favourite {Charlotte}

  1. I love May too as we got married in May 4 years ago and our first baby is due this month too!
    I can’t help with what to do in a rainy Portugal but if it’s any consolation (probably not), my husband and I have the worst track record on weather abroad. Whenever we go away anywhere it’s unseasonably cold or wet or both, so far we’ve jinxed Australia, South of France, Ibiza, Mallorca, and Lanzarote. We are not going to Portugal this month so at least we can’t be blamed for that one :).
    I’m currently reading Not the Kind of Girl by Lena Durham which is hilarious and have just finished the Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, easy going it is not though!
    I recently got my husband a hip flask from Aspinals, they delivered very promptly and it came in a beautiful gift box.
    Can’t wait to see the Rock my Wedding book when it is published xx

    1. Love the idea of a luxe hip flask Sophie! Thanks for the tip!

      James and I don’t sunbathe/don’t love it hot particularly yet we always take heat waves with us everywhere – it’s almost become a bit of a joke, until this year that is! xx

  2. I can recommend two books by Sarah Winman – ‘When God was Rabbit’ and ‘A Year of Marvellous Ways’ for holiday reading. Both great in different ways – but be warned there will probably be tears. Hope you have a lovely holiday!

    1. Thanks Sarah, I’ve just added both to the notes on my phone to investigate later xx

  3. Is he into watches? Shore Projects have some great styles all themed about different U.K. coasts so somewhere that might be special to you?! My hubby chose the Whitstable but thought he might go for the Falmouth being Cornish but he went for style over sentiment ? He’s also kind of from Kent too.
    Have a fab holiday, and can’t wait to what all about it. Take warm stuff is my only advice. I went to France last weekend and took a spring ish wardrobe for me and two babies and i really should’ve stuck with winter coats. Toys, iPad and walks??

    1. Hi Sophie! We are definitely downloading all sorts of things on Mabel’s (new!) iPad. James doesn’t wear a watch currently but will definitely take a look – what a lovely idea! x

  4. For books for your holiday I’d recommend anything by Santa Montefiore 🙂 have a wonderful May!!

  5. May is also my favourite month! I would highly recommend reading The Presidents Hat by Antoine Laurain. It is quite a short book and an easy read but such a beautiful story. Have a wonderful holiday! X

    1. Lucy this also sounds great thanks! Also, is your avatar a slice of marshmallow cake?! Looks amazing!

      1. It’s a fantastic book! yes, it is a chocolate marshmallow bar! Thank you! They are really delicious! You can find the recipe on my blog if you are interested 🙂 X

  6. Vale Do Lobo golf club has an indoor swimming pool, spa and gym complex which you can pay as you go or for a weekly pass. Facilities are really nice. There is a children’s play area just in front of the Praca at Vale Do Lobo and I’m sure there’s an indoor part and another part which is covered over. There’s a nice little shopping complex at Quinta. I bet the weather is better than the forecast, we go several times a year and weather is always fantastic, the odd rain shower maybe but never persistent bad weather. Evenings may still be a bit chilly in May. Have a lovely time!

    1. Sam thanks so much for these recommendations! The weekly pass sounds perfect – I’ll email James about it in a bit. Since writing this the forecast has improved a little already – not quite so much rain! fingers crossed xx

  7. Charlotte I am just about to finish reading a lovely book called Our Song by Dani Atkins, I am almost at the end and I can feel that it is going to be a heart wrencher!!

    1. Thanks Vanessa! Loving all these recommendations, I will need a suitcase just for books 🙂 (I am old school and don’t have a kindle, although this year I may have to download a few to the iPad,which makes me a little sad!) x

  8. I’ve only been to Portugal once so can’t help with specific things to do in bad weather, but we went to Majorca last year – in August no less – and the weather was awful. It wasn’t cold, but it was very wet and windy for 4 of the 7 days we were there. Thankfully Zoe was only 7 months at the time, I imagine it would have been much more difficult with a toddler and am hoping for better weather on our jaunt this year!

    Are you renting a car? If so (and even if not), definitely plan day trips. Even moseying around the shops/coffee bars etc in nearby towns is better than sitting in your apartment hiding from the rain (also, Mango abroad – WAY better than the ones we have here!). There are usually attractions you can visit too. Majorca has underground caves and stuff, I’m sure Portugal has stuff along those lines that you could check out. You could wrap up warm and rent bikes too. Weatherproof your wardrobe – there is nothing worse than schlepping through puddles in flip flops. I find a light waterproof jacket, a pair of converse, a few jumpers/cardigans and a couple of big cotton scarf type things usually do the trick. Bring your maxis anyway and wear them in the evening with a denim jacket and even some tights if need be! I’m sure you would anyway, but make sure to take some toys and games that are fun and will amuse Mabel should you end up stuck inside – we had my 12 year old stepdaughter with us last year and a pack of cards was a lifesaver. In short, you’re probably best treating it like a UK beach holiday and planning a range of things to do, regardless of the weather. Though hopefully the forecast will be wrong and you’ll get sunshine once you’re there! 🙂

    Have a great holiday x

    1. Hi Tracy! Yes we are renting a car, and I will definitely look at day trips – the weather might be better an hour or so down the coast too I guess?

      Absolutely going to be packing my denim jacket, and also some hold ups for underneath the maxis to keep out the chill! And you are right on the footwear scenario – good call, I’ll be packing all of our plimsols for puddles xx

  9. On the book front, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld: it is a modern re-write of Pride and Prejudice and I loved it. Very easy to read and engrossing. In fact I stayed awake until 5am last Friday night finishing it off – I am not built for that anymore as I spend Saturday in a massive exhausted fog. Ooops! x

    1. Oh wow Diane! This sounds amazing. Randomly as our publishing house it Penguin, they sent us a load of beautiful classics for a shoot – Pride and Prejudice was one, I was very tempted to give it another read! x

  10. Charlotte, hopefully the weather won’t be as bad as it looks on the forecast. When we were there a couple of weeks ago it looked like it would be rain all day every day, but actually the showers were quite short and the clouds would clear by about 3pm and we would head to the beach then. Faro has a nice shopping centre – Zara and Mango are quite a bit cheaper than the UK. I think there is a sealife centre type place called ZooMarine. We kind of filled our time when the weather was bad with walks, coffee and natas (if you didn’t sample a Nata when you were there before you have to try one – it’s a custard tart type thing but a million times nicer). Quinta and Val both have mini golf, which could be fun. My friend is there this week and she has still had some nice days, despite the ropey forecast xx

    1. That’s good to know Lisa, I have heard that the forecast is often worst-case-scanrio in Portugal. The sealife centre sounds perfect, Mabel loves animals. We did go to that shopping centre last time – it was lovely actually, I bought lots of new lingerie as I was so impressed with the window displays (!)

      I’ll let James know about this Nata tart – he loves the regular custard ones x

  11. I feel your pain with the weather. I have started packing for my holiday in the USA and Canada and it has been a nightmare as it will be a couple of degrees warmer than here but I’m having to plan for three weeks of changeable weather. Nightmare!

    In terms of books I second Sarah Winman novels – I’m currently reading A Year of Marvellous Ways. The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne is the best book I have read in a long time and everyone I have recommend it to has told me they read it in a day! Also, Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes is lovely but hankies at the ready.

    1. Your holiday sounds epic Claire! black tights are always in my bag “just in case” and ankle boots. Also fine knit cardigans that you can just throw on but are not too “winter”.

      I have read Me Before You, I really enjoyed it even though I didn’t think I would (I picked it in a rush, thought it might be a bit “blah”) I’ve heard there is a film of the book – I quite fancy seeing it x

      1. Yes, it’s out in June. I have got After You in my suitcase to find out what happens next.

  12. Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice is a lovely read. Maybe not quite right for a Summer holiday though! Her Shell Seekers is lovely too – nice and gentle but still keeps the brain working. I also love Joanna Trollope – again, nothing too heavy but not so fluffy that your brain switches off and you roll your eye at the female characters. Or is that just me?

    Have a gorgeous holiday!


  13. Have a great holiday Charlotte! Absolutely LOVE Portugal. I’m preggers with baby no 1 at the moment so I can’t help with entertaining ideas but I’ll sure I’ll come back to this post at some point in the future for the tips! I agree with some of the other comments on here – the weather’s never as bad as it might make out, I’m sure there will be showers but they will be few and far between hopefully.

    I got excited at the title of this post – thought we were going to get some more insights on your sister’s wedding as I’m sure I read that was May! I can’t wait to see how the feathers vs gin bottles argument panned out, or Mabel in her tutu! Will it be covered on RMW?

    In terms of presents for James…what about a gift experience like a drive day, a whiskey tasting tour, weekend away etc…You can print the voucher today, no need to wrap it and it takes up zero room in your suitcase. A winner all round! 🙂

    1. Hi Lois! A voucher is a great idea actually…..I’m going to investigate tonight 🙂

      Unfortunately my sisters wedding has been postponed indefinitely. It’s not something I’ve mentioned on the blog or anywhere else but at the same time it’s not a secret either – and I’m sure there must be readers like yourself that might be wondering when it is. Her finance has been really quite unwell, it’s been a very sad time for all involved.


      1. Oh Charlotte I’m so genuinely sorry to hear that, trust me to put my bloody massive foot in it! Of course I’m sure we all completely understand why you wouldn’t have been particularly vocal on the matter. Hope your sister is OK and her finance gets well soon, lots of love and best wishes to you all xxxxxxxxxx

      2. Oh Charlotte, I am so sorry for your sister. I don’t know what her fiancé is going through, but they’ll manage together! My husband had been operated on on his tongue two days before our wedding in 2013. Two days after the wedding, he got diagnosed with cancer. Fast forward to today and many operations two times radiotherapy and a chemotherapy later, we can be happy still. You really learn to treasure everything and every moment you have that much more. Currently our 4 month old son is our absolute sunshine. I wish your sister and her fiancé all the luck in the world!

  14. You’re wearing the L’école Des Femmes ‘Oui’! Is it as lovely on as it looks on the website? I might have to get my May off to a flying start by finally buying it!

    1. Hi Lisa! I am wearing it as I type 🙂

      It is a very lovely T-shirt in terms of quality and fit. Definitely a fave in my wardrobe xx

  15. I’ve just flown back from Portugal exactly where you are staying, I was working out there this week. It started off really hot and sunny not much fun to work in, yesterday we had loads of rain and a thunderstorm but it was clearing up and it was never cold even in the rain. It was my first time to the algarve and I really liked it I am sure you will have a fantastic time whatever the weather

  16. I’m in portugal at the moment Charlotte ! And yes what others have said it can forecast to be pretty crap but turns out not too bad ! We often go for a drive to try and chase the sunshine! Always good shopping centres and the coffee shops with amazing cakes and ask for a pasta de nata with a latte style coffee ! I’m addicted …. Afraid I will return to England looking like a custard tart !!
    A drive to villamoura marina is a must to swoon at the yachts and sip a cocktail or have a late lunch on one of the restraint decks, it’s very touristy but still lovely even if cloudy .
    Faro has good shopping too at the forum, partly undercover if rainy with Zara Zara home ,MAC and a cute little home shop with quirky bits and pieces . You will have a fab time down at vale de lobo / Quinta de largo .. Very fancy xx

  17. Hi Charlotte,
    I visited the Algarve last September and had a mixed bag when it came to the weather.
    We had a hire car, so as others have said, we explored!
    We loved a little town called Loule which has a fabulous Saturday market selling all kinds of bits – Mabel will love the sights and sounds, very family friendly! We also discovered a gorgeous little surfing beach in the charming village of Burgau, lots of quaint taverns for lunch and out little one loved watching the surfers.
    Alvor is a bustling resort, but quaint all the same for having a wander and we found some really lovely play areas there, the Portugese children were so friendly and sweet!
    As others have said, we had the zoos/sea life centres as a back up plan but luckily the weather improved.
    I can’t get over that you haven’t tried pastel de natas! They’re the best thing about going to Portugal! You can buy a 4 pack in the supermarkets for less than a euro, or the homemade ones at Loule market are to die for. Definitely give them a go! They’re becoming quite hipster here, being sold in quirky cafes at ridiculous prices but they don’t beat real Portugese ones!

  18. Hi Charlotte; book recommendation…Disclaimer by Renee Knight. It’s not the most uplifting of reads but a page turner!

    RE gifts – what about an experience…a nice weekend away to some where special – maybe a good restaurant if he’s a foodie. I got my other half an night at L’Enculme in Cumbria (voted the UKs best restaurant) and it was a wonderful evening. Gift him wonderful memories!

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