I've been a reader of Alyson Sheldrake's blog for a few years, and she's kindly asked me to review her book - Living the Dream in the Algarve, which was published in April this year.
"After a few holidays in the Algarve, in sunny southern Portugal, Alyson and husband Dave fell in love with the place and the genuine warmth and generosity of the Portuguese people and started planning to move there to enjoy a gentler pace of life.
Eventually after her husband retired from the Police, their dream became a reality and they were able to move from the UK to the Algarve in 2011.
Alyson has used her artistic skills to become a sought-after artist with her depictions of Algarve life, as well as painting dog portraits, and Dave is a professional photographer.
They've integrated well into the local community, helped by the fact that they make the effort of communicating in Portuguese.
The couple has earned my admiration, as they give back to their community by raising funds for the Bombeiros (firefighters) and The Madrugada Association, which has been providing palliative care and support to sick people and their loved ones in the Algarve since 2009. Alyson has also created the Algarve Society of Artists, a society for local artists, which earned her an entrepreneurial award and is a speaker at the annual "Live and Invest in Portugal" international conference.
Alyson's book is full of advice for those who would like to follow in their footsteps, as well as being entertaining, describing hilarious adventures of their new life in the sun, not forgetting their experiences with the "much loved" Portuguese bureaucracy when buying property and getting their Residency.
The book will be useful to anyone contemplating moving to Portugal as well as a travel guide with many useful recommendations - restaurants, trails, beaches... But even if you're not planning to relocate to Portugal, it's still an interesting book which I highly recommend.
I have to confess that even though I've often spent Summer holidays in the Algarve, when we lived in Portugal, Alyson has opened my eyes to so many hidden gems in the Algarve unknown to me.
Alyson's book certainly made me feel nostalgic about our family holidays in the beautiful Algarve, and at times I wished I could just pack my bags and head to the Algarve.
Who knows maybe when Jose and I retire from our working lives in Australia we might return to Portugal and go and live in our favourite holiday place - the Algarve!