Portugal -Tips for Settling In Abroad💞

Portugal -Tips for Settling In Abroad💞

Hey guys, I hope you’re all having a great week!

As you may know by now, Dylan and I have come to Portugal for the summer. I spoke about us moving out here in my ‘Life Update’  post a few weeks ago, but one of the questions I have gotten over the last few weeks is how do we make it feel like home and not a holiday? This is something you have to be aware of consciously. It’s so easy to feel like you’re on one big holiday, and before you know it, you’ve fallen out of all the good habits you keep at home, and you’re entirely out of your routine.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned that I adore the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. But I’ll continue to harp on about it as I believe it to be valuable for anyone who still needs to read it. This book speaks about how you can habit stack and reward yourself whenever you do something you want to become a habit.

This is something that I was doing when at home in Dublin. I would get up in the morning, go to the gym, and work out. Straight after that, I have my healthy breakfast, which I love. I would then run out of the house and get a blowdry to complete the habit stack (girls with extensions know the pain of blowdrying a full head of extensions!) I would then get all of my work calls out of the way. Trying to embed my new healthy morning habit by going through this stack of habits at least three times a week has been significant for me. I function so much better when I’m set in my routine. .

So naturally, my first tip is: Stick to your routine.

If I didn’t go to the gym and I didn’t get into the sauna or steam room, then I wouldn’t need the blowdry, so the first habit of the stack wouldn’t have caused the domino effect of that little routine I have of Gym-Sauna-Breakfast-Blowdry-Calls. What has happened at times when I put it off is 10:30 hits, and I’m still in bed scrolling with none of the above completed (I’m sure you’ve all been there at some point, too!) So I am determined to stick to my routine while we’re away. We’re making sure we go to bed at the same time as we would have at home and get up in the morning at the same time because it’s so easy to want to sleep in and not stick to my plan, which can be fine when you’re away for a week or two. Still, because we’re spending the summer here, it is so important that we’re strict with our habits whilst we’re away.

So number one is making sure that I stick to my gym routine. Number two is making sure that I stick to my supplements every morning, then making sure that I schedule my work calls, and making sure that I’ve booked the salon I go to for my hair that I go to regularly. Because I like familiar things, I’m a creature of habit, so when I’m living somewhere that’s not home, I need to feel familiar. So going to the same salon for my hair and seeing the girls that do my nails that I’ve seen for the few years I’ve been coming here, it’s important to me. It’s helped me build relationships over here; I’ve built those relationships with those girls over the last three years, so that has a big part to play, and then friendships blossom from that.

Unless I have friends or family over, I limit the nights we go out for dinner.

As you would in Ireland, you’d have the odd date night, which is lovely. Of course, we love to go to dinner and watch the sunset with a glass of wine (I mean, perks of living abroad?!), but we try to limit how many times during the week we eat out, and we also do a weekly shop so we have our breakfast, lunch and snack items in the house. This is important to me so that I can keep on track with eating healthily for the most part, which I think we can all agree makes us feel better overall.

It also helps me to make my house feel as much like home as possible.

When I was leaving Dublin, I took some things from my house that I knew would give me that home comfort I would need. My fluffy housecoat, Penney’s slippers and my PJs are absolutely essential for me. If I forgot to pack them, I’d nearly be on the next plane back to get them, and I’m deadly serious about that!! I also took some teddy’s from mine and Dylan’s bed, some bedclothes, and my speaker so that I could still listen to RTE radio, and I can’t forget the old reliable Barry’s tea bag! There’s also a little supermarket where I can get Irish ham, sausages, coleslaw and little things like that, so even the fridge feels familiar when you open it, which is great! When we arrived, Dylan and I went to Ikea to get the little bits and bobs needed around the house, like shelves, clothes hangers, etc. We got some bits that allowed me to turn one of the rooms into a walk-in wardrobe room. Of course, it’s a different layout than my room at home, but I am used to having that separate space where I can get ready, so implementing that over here in Portugal is a real bonus for me. I have all my clothes and accessories laid out just as I would at home, and I found this very helpful to make the place we’re staying feel more like our own.

Finally, while there are negatives to moving abroad for prolonged periods, all I’ve known is Ireland and all that comes with it, and I am a real home bird at heart. I can’t speak about Portugal without mentioning how I love how I feel when I’m here. I love the locals. I love the slowness of it all. The laid-back nature of life here suits me down to the ground because I’m sooo hyperactive. This helps me slow my brain down everrrr so slightly and relax more than I can at times at home in Ireland.


Dylan also surprised me last year with a little car. It’s a tiny little fiat, but it means I have my independence here to fly around and get my little bits and pieces done daily when Dylan is out and about himself. I can also jump into it to go to the gym alone on the days I plan to have a little lie on when Dylan’s going for his super early spins. I’m not a 6:30 am person unless I really really have to be! We also hope to bring the doggies to us in a few weeks. We’re doggie-proofing this house, and once that is complete, we can get our fur babies to us for the summer; I am so excited just thinking about this; they’d love it here!

That’s it, guys, for now, I hope these tips are helpful to anyone who is living away from home for an extended period, and I’m fully aware none of this is groundbreaking stuff, but I’m enjoying posting more regularly to the blog, so here we are! Also, if you have any of your own pieces of advice, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to know what they are😊
Chat soon,


1 Comment

  1. Sandra
    22 May 2023 / 08:39

    That blog was so helpful. I needed someone to put it in perspective. You are so right – habits. I too come to to Q do Lago for extended periods of time and try to make it my home. I have the Irish tv channels which is a big plus. Haven’t found the good hairdresser yet or the Irish coleslaw but will keep looking.

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