A postcard from Lisbon

Lisbon has been close to my heart ever since I can remember. My parents live nearby, I spent many of my childhood Summer holidays exploring it's magical alleyways whilst gorging on creamy Pasteis de Nata.

Whilst I love this city it's not terribly pram friendly so since Matilda's birth we'd tended to stick to the coast near my parents on visits, but this year we decided to venture into the hidden streets of the city with her.

The city for me resembles a Fellini set with it's faded grandeur, narrow alleyways with washing hung above the heads of passersby, the air thick with the smell of strong black coffee and cigarettes. A city that belongs to its residents there is a slight nod to tourists but this is not a place that panders to the foreigner. You take the city as you find it and mostly visitors are captivated by its old fashioned charm.

These days Lisbon is fast becoming the city of cool. Cheaper than it's European counterparts, artists are flocking to its shores in search of inspiration. They're not being disappointed either with pretty scenes crying out to be discovered all over the city, there is a renewed vigour to the city that I delighted in when we were there over Christmas. Bloggers such as the wonderful Frolic Blog who recently settled in Lisbon have rekindled my love affair with Lisbon through their beautiful photography and passion for it.

With stunning independent artisans occupying beautiful old rambling palaces such as the hip Embaixada artists taking over abandoned buildings and an injection of creativity in restoring old markets such as Mercado da Ribeira into buzzing, contemporary foodie heavens.

If there is one city you should visit this year it's got to be Lisbon.