The invitations are piling up – it must be Christmas!

It has been a busy time at Sheldrake Towers, and the mantelpiece has been full of shiny invitations to events. It might be a quiet time of year for tourism here on the Algarve, but there are still a lot of things happening, and many of them are set up to raise money for charity or enhance the profile of the Algarve – all a good thing!

Last weekend we were very busy! On Friday evening we went to the opening of a new exhibition of work by local artist Liz Allen:


Liz is a really nice gentle person, and it was great to be able to catch up with her again. She paints bright acrylic work in the Naïve style, and is a member of The Association of British Naïve Artists. Her work is colourful, full of pattern and shape, and intuitive, and I always enjoy seeing her new pieces. 


Naïve paintings have a characteristic absence of perspective, which creates the illusion that figures are “floating” and also means that features and buildings that would normally be decreased in size and detail the further away they are in the landscape are painted with the same rich intensity and colours as those in the foreground – which always makes her paintings very interesting as she gives a unique spin on local Algarve villages and scenes.

The exhibition is on throughout December at the offices of Town and Country Estate Agents in Carvoeiro – click here for their website and directions.

You can also view more of Liz’s work on her website Liz Allen Art 

Saturday morning saw us up bright and early so that we could go to Armação de Pêra for the Father Christmas Walk which raises food and money for the ‘Banco Alimentar de Portugal’ or Portuguese Food Bank which does an amazing job collecting and distributing food to those in need:

Santa walk 2013 Dave Sheldrake photography

It was lovely to see so many Santas walking through the town in the bright sunshine, although this dear little puppy looked very tired afterwards:

Santa walk 2013 Dave Sheldrake photography Saturday afternoon saw us dashing off to Vale de Lobo and the Christmas market – there are a plethora of markets and events across the Algarve each Christmas, and we had promised our friends at Birch Photography that we would pop in and see them – we had also had a lovely personal invitation from the organisers Inspirations Algarve who have been a fantastic support all year advertising our exhibitions and events for us – so it was great to actually meet Paul Rouse and his wife Kate at last!


The event I have to say was actually quite tricky to find – unless you know the Vale de Lobo resort well – but we eventually found the main auditorium – and it was great! Now in its fourth year, the Christmas market raises money for a number of the Algarve’s leading charities, including the Wolf Valley Charity Fund, Their Voice Portugal, the New Goldra Dog Sanctuary, the Algarve Oncology Association, and the Peta Birch Community Association. All very worthy causes indeed. There were a large number of stalls, mainly selling crafts and gifts, with plenty of food and drink on sale too. We even managed to buy some nice Christmas cards for a very reasonable price too – now all we have to do is write them and post them!

The children’s entertainment was great, with Santa, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, face painting, and even two of the actors from the Zoomarine, who were very funny – and one of them took a particular liking to Dave at one point:


Naturally we had to have a go in the photo booth set up by Birch Photography – Dan and Natasha are such a great couple and are so relaxed and friendly – which is probably why we ended up with a shot like this to keep – which we have now decided will become our ‘Official Christmas Photograph’ … we have vowed to get our revenge later…


Monday saw us spending the afternoon celebrating Christmas at Cliff’s vineyard on the Algarve, alongside many other friends and family of the estate. It was great to be able to have a quick look around as well, it has been quite a few years since we toured the vineyard, and it has definitely expanded since then:

 Alyson Sheldrake Photographer

We were also able to try some of the delicious Vida Nova Sparkling Rosé wine and enjoy a fabulous hog roast whilst listening to local children sing and entertain the crowds.

 Alyson Sheldrake Photographer

The views from the estate are stunning at any time of year, but there is something magical about the sunlight streaming through the burnished red and orange leaves of the old vines:

Alyson Sheldrake Photographer

It was a lovely afternoon!

We haven’t even really begun to think about planning our own Christmas yet, but all of these invitations and events are certainly beginning to get us into the mood – just one more commission to finish painting this week and then I can begin to hunt out the Christmas decorations!
And wherever you are – and however you celebrate – have a fantastic Christmas!

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16 Responses to The invitations are piling up – it must be Christmas!

  1. Marianne says:

    OH boy! You HAVE been busy haven’t you?

    Love the festive photo of you and Dave 🙂 How original!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, whatever you decide to do 🙂 xx

  2. Sami Veloso says:

    Love that Naive style picture, very colourful. You have been very busy indeed. I just realized today that we are two weeks away from Christmas and I still have so much to do, buy, plan, etc.
    Have a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

  3. I enjoyed all of your very special social occasions. I think you’ve captured what I most enjoy about the holiday season–time with family and friends! Lovely!

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Gosh you are keeping busy but all in a good cause/s . All the best for Christmas 🙂

  5. What a season! Love the entry to your time and fun, your social season is enthralling. Thank you for sharing all the fun with us.

  6. Photo Girl says:

    Well aren’t you popular! Great post, hugely enjoyed reading about your experiences. The pictures are great too, that puppy, adorable!

  7. restlessjo says:

    I have been seriously neglectful, Aly, but I do keep rough track of all your excitement on FB. So happy for you that things are going so well. Our very best wishes for 2014. I know you’re going from strength to strength and it’s lovely to watch. We’re over there for 12 days in January, hunting down Nativity scenes (as you do!) and hopefully an Epiphany procession? 🙂

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