Monday, July 28, 2008

Gastronomic week

Cheryl's Birthday Bash!

It's been a full up week. When I say full up I mean of the eating variety. It started at the beginning of the week with a trip to our favourite Chinese wok buffet with friends that are over on holiday. We hadn't been there for a while and I don't think it was as good this time.
Then, on Thursday it was Cheryl's birthday, so all the mums met up for lunch at Eduardos la Finca. A supposedly posh restaurant with an outdoor pool and terrace area. We were all very disappointed. The food was so so and the service was the worst I had ever experienced. It was as if they had pulled the waitresses off the street with no training and no organisation whatsoever. Although none of us were in a hurry to leave, it took 2 1/2 hours to be served 3 courses. In fact 20 mins or so after our starters a waitress appeared and asked us if we wanted dessert. Also, there chairs had plastic seat pads meaning you stick to them. So much so that one or two of us had two-toned dresses by the end of the afternoon. We won't be rushing back!
'Thing 1' went to Chloes birthday party on Friday. After the party we were peckish, so we went to the Green chilli. An Indian restaurant recommended to us by quite a few people. Verdict - not as good as Shakira's, Cabo Roig., which remains our favourite.
On Saturday night we had arranged to meet other friends at Shakira's on Saturday night. We had booked a table inside rather than outside because of the heat. It was still 31c at 8.30 pm.
So after such a gastronomic week and the heat we had barely any appetite on Sunday. None of us ate much at all. I jumped on the scales this morning and they hadn't gone up at all. Hurray!
It's such a tough life in Spain.
I could tell you all about the traffic the summer brings with it, or the fact that, if you go out to buy ice cream it's all soft by the time you get home, even though you've put it in the cool bag for the car journey, or it's so hot that you can't take up jogging. [tee hee]
My blog today is coming to an end. A noisy whirlwind has just blown indoors, - 'Thing 1 and 2' have just arrived back from kids club and I've got windows to clean.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Having just served up plates of different types of salads for tea. Thing 2 spots a plate of chopped Beetroot.
"What's that?" she asks.
"It's Beetroot" I reply.
"I've got a friend called Beetroot," she confidently says.
I give her a puzzled look and then it dawns on me. "You mean Beatrice!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Live on half your money or not!

I was pondering on an article I read in the Sunday Times magazine the other day [part of my bits and bobs that hubby brought back last week] on how to live on half your money. Living in Spain actually takes that theory and makes you put it into practice.

Compared to the UK Spain does not offer a wealth of consumerism. Consumer goods, advertising and an increasing number of retail outlets means that Spain is heading the same way as the UK, but it still has a long way to catch up. When we first arrived here it was quite refreshing not to be bombarded by the retail frenzy. The Christmas hype is non existent here. If it were not for Things 1 and 2 constantly reminding us of the fact, it is quite easy to go through December and not realise that it is actually December. There are only a few Christmas decorations on sale in the big hypermarkets or Chinese 'sell everything' shops and the odd Santa decoration on the occasional house. Easter is a religious festival. Lidl reminds us by selling more chocolate products with Easter themes. The little English shops import a few Easter eggs, and that''s about it. The Spanish aren't into sending cards to all and sundry so there are only one or two card shops, and they are run by British for the British.

I have a couple of British friends who go back to the UK in December just to absorb the Christmas hype and to do a bit of shopping, of course .

Anyway, I'll go back to my original point, where it is possible to live on half your money here. When you go out for groceries it is quite a simple process. The lack of tasty edible ready meals means you have to cook from scratch. So, you have to go and buy your fish/meat/chicken and seasonal veg and then put together a healthy balanced meal. If you are quite controlled it is easy to just put one or two naughties in your basket to liven up your eating plan. Wine and beer are cheap too, so you can buy whilst feeling indulgent, only parting with a few Euro. The only time you tend to spend more is if you buy imported products that it is impossible to do without e.g. Heinz baked beans.

With all that money saved you can then go back the UK once or twice a year to exercise the demons of a lifetime of ingrained, retail brain washing that everyone brought up in the UK has endured and SPLURGE all that cash in the shops! All you have to do then is pay for the extra weight in your checked in bags to get it all back home, especially if you are flying Ryan Air.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've got an Award!


The lovely Kath has given me this award! Thank you so much!
there are apparently RULES to this award...
(copied and pasted from Kath's delightful blog Juicy Fig)

1. I can put this rather sparkly Logo on my Blog.
2. Put a link/or mention the lovely person who gave you the award.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put a link to that Blog on your Blog.
5. Leave a message on their blog of your nomination.

I am nominating 1 blog for an award. This is because I believe this blog is worthy of an award. I have followed Rootietoot for 2 years and I love her humour.

Check it out at:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Three kids

We have just been out for a cheap Chinese. There are many advantages and disadvantages to living in Spain. One advantage is the cheap Chinese. We get 3 courses with many choices, rice or noodles or chips, a half bottle of wine or beer or soft drink. All for 5.75€ [about £4.20]. That's a bargain if ever I saw one and it gives me the night off from the kitchen.

Over the meal we discussed me going back to the UK for a holiday for a week [minus kids or hubby]- Bliss. Thing 1 had been playing about egged on by a giggling hubby who just added fuel to the 'messing about' fire. Hubby just couldn't keep a straight face, even though he was attempting to chastise Thing 1. With an exasperated sigh I asked what on earth would I come back to, if I did indeed leave them all for a week.

Dear hubby answered "3 children".

Never a truer word said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cooler week

After the heat of last week it has cooled down about 10 degrees. We have had one thunderstorm and are due to have more. So I embarked on my 'half as good as Madonna' goal today. I dragged hubby out for an hour's hike around the coast. This definitely equalled one workout. I needed some sustenance for such a hike, so I ate a Kit Kat chunky. They probably cancelled each other out. Never mind.

The red flag was flying at the beach. In fact there were 4 red flags in total. That meant under no circumstances should anyone enter the sea. Two of them were placed right on the shoreline, so no-one could be mistaken. The waves were high and the beach was heaving, which is quite unusual for a weekday in mid July. There were still a mad few in the sea. I feel sorry for the lifeguards who have to rescue the people who ignore the flags, putting their own lives at risk.

Thing 2 has just watched '10 years younger' on the TV. She said I want to be 10 years younger" it then dawned on her what she had said and added an embarrassed "oh no! I'm nine."

The unveiling of the injured toe has happened. I persuaded Thing 1 to take off his bandage tonight, so he could have a shower. We can all now take the pegs off our noses!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thing 1

Thing 1 is having a birthday shortly. He'll be 12. He is turning into a 'Kevin' before my eyes. He is so moody. I announced today that over the next few weeks when hubby is back from working in the UK I wanted take a trip to a huge shopping centre an hour away. From that moment on he stomped about. He refused to clean his teeth and sat po-faced on the sofa, stating that he would not move or do ANYTHING if he had to go shopping. I explained that there were sports shops in this particular shopping centre and he could show me what he liked, [I'm thinking birthday pressie] he then gave me a tirade of moodiness back, so I did what lots of mums do, took a deep breath and walked away.
I think he has a girlfriend, well actually I'm certain he has a girlfriend. I caught him the other day on msn being sneaky. He has started to minimize the page when I get close, constantly monitoring it to see if 'anyone' is online. His sister is in on the secret, but she won't let on who it is. I caught a glimpse of a message yesterday it said "I miss you". I'm guessing she is from school.

Today, we all spent a couple of hours in A & E. Thing 1 had fallen off of his bike yesterday and made quite a lot of fuss. I tended to his cuts and bruises and gave lots of TLC. However, he recovered enough to hobble down to the beach, but refused to go in the sea because of his 'injuries'. This morning he was still moaning and hobbling and his foot looked a little swollen. So, we decided we should get it checked out by an expert in case he had a fracture [I didn't want the poor chap to be shuffling for the rest of his days.] We told him and he immediately became very upset [he has an aversion to doctors.] We convinced him that his diagnosis and treatment would not involve any medicine, injections or operations and he calmed down, smiled and said that he would go because he wanted crutches. [He said it in a similar fashion to the way I would say I wanted a pair of Jimmy Choos].
So, off we all went. 2 hours later [brill hospital - efficient and clean] we had our diagnosis. The doctor came into the cubicle and announced "just sprained". He burst into tears and between cries demanded "I need accessories." [He really did want them like I would want designer shoes] I couldn't contain myself!!! I wonder if wanted to get sympathy from the girls or, if his command of English is a little obscured because he is juggling two languages. Bless his cottons!

Half a good as Madonna

I heard yesterday that Madonna works out 6 times a day. No wonder she looks fantastic for someone approaching 50. I thought I would work towards a similar goal, so have just swam 50 rectangles of the pool. I say rectangles because the pool is a rectangular 8mx5m, so it isn't really possible to do lengths. I wonder if this counts as one workout. I'm not too sure I am going to achieve six workouts. Perhaps three will suffice. I suppose to have a body half as good as Madonna is perfectly acceptable. I biggest problem I have with this is that it is so hot. It is possible to break out in a sweat just by breathing. We do have a cross training machine, but you would have to be nuts to use it at the moment. So far today I have clocked up probably 1 1/2 workouts. The 1/2 refers to walking the dog early this morn. I wonder how many times I would need to walk up and down stairs to clock up another 'workout.' I've got to put the ironing away.

Later today the kids and I are going to the beach. We love meeting up with our pals [other mums and kids] at the beach, but we do tend to take it for granted as the beach is only 100m from the house [although I'm not complaining]. This Friday teatime beach visit is getting to be a regular thing. Last week some didn't go home until 10 o'clock. Each mum is bringing a different dish and we all share our picnics. I've offered to make garlic prawns. I'm also doing a rice dish to go with it. There is a bottle of cava chilling in the fridge, but I'm not too sure that is working towards my half as good as Madonna goal!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We've been healthy for too long!

It's been a peaceful morning. The kids are at 'kids club.' The dog is sprawled out on the tiles. I floated around in the pool to the distant sounds of a violin played by my neighbour. He has a fiddle every day and is obviously making the most of the peace, whilst he can. Thing 1 and 2 are only out until lunchtime.

I see that London has had lots of rain. Ooh I miss the rain! I have had pangs to go back for a visit, catch up with everyone and do my bit to bolster the UK economy with a shopping trip or two. As I hear recently that it is dire need at present, but, alas, it cannot be. Late flight bookings at this time of year are prohibitively expensive. Hubby will be back from the UK on Saturday with my bits and bobs shopping. Essentials that us English can't do without,like mango chutney and Branston pickle.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow, we get an 'Iceland.' My aim for this week was to eat our way through the freezer [not literally] to make space for the goodies. Cheap, time saving food that you don't get here. Spanish food is good, don't get me wrong. It's relatively cheap, healthy, fresh but you have to really cook dishes from scratch. The prepared meals available taste of plastic and I haven't found one I could recommend. Although, I gave up buying them soon after I started. Iceland should bridge the culinary gap between healthy fayre and tasty, unhealthy, prepackaged, frozen stuff. Fab!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another day in paradise!

Yes, another day in paradise is upon us! The kids here broke up from school just over two weeks ago. My two [referred to in previously ramblings as 'thing one' and 'thing two' ] started bickering almost immediately. Although they would describe it as negotiating a rota for use of the: TV, computer, Wii fit, sleepovers and visiting friends, etc.
It's wearing just listening to them.
Then the daily ice cream argument ensued. Although, I must admit that started long before the holidays began. I buy choc nut ice cream lollies for hubby and I and buy 12 cornetto type ice creams -6 chocolate and 6 strawberry- for the kids. This normally works out perfectly because 'thing 1' likes strawberry and 'thing 2' likes chocolate. However, problems arise when friends come over and upset the numbers. They then do very loud vocal daily stock takes of the freezer keeping an account of the numbers so that one does not sneakily get up early in the morning for an extra ice cream. In fact this seems to be an underlying theme, everything they do is LOUD!
I often threaten that I won't buy any more, but I can't quite keep that 'promise' when it's so hot and I want the occasional one too!

I gave them the first couple of weeks off from holiday homework as I figured they needed a break from their year of hard work. Now I have mentioned to 'thing 1' the need to at least start it and he is as slippery as an eel, using every escape trick in the book. Thing 2 wasn't given any homework, [they are at different schools] so, we have started reading 'Charlie and the chocolate factory' to improve her English reading and to make a small move to redress the homework imbalance! Who called this a holiday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My first post - Sweltering in July

Here I am sitting in the sweltering heat of an evening in Spain in July. I'm torn between keeping all the doors and windows open and letting in every mosquito in a mile radius to devour my exposed skin, which is pretty much most of me as I'm sitting here in my cozzie on the account of the heat, or closing all doors and windows and putting the aircon on, which seems a bit ecologically unfriendly thing to do. I could always take the third option of spraying myself and the kids with a spray designed toward off the irritating mozzies, but I generally only choose that option when I go out and have no other choice. I'm sure in years to come all such substances will be banned, if it kills all known bugs think what prolonged use does to humans.

Last night I took the open door option. The result - one bitten leg and a hot house that even the dog wouldn't sleep in. When I locked up for the night and went upstairs to bed, Tilly, my Labradoodle who normally sleeps downstairs cried and cried. I let her out just in case she wanted a last loo stop, but no, so I locked up again. I knew what the problem was but I didn't want to leave the downstairs aircon on for the dog. So,I carried her, yes carried her upstairs, all 24 kgs of her. This is because she has a staircase phobia and won't walk up on her own. I'm sure she has a fear of heights or maybe she finds the tiles too slippery to climb. Anyway, she quite happily slept in my bedroom [with my aircon on - very low] and didn't move a muscle until I got up in the morning. I wonder if she will expect to come up again tonight!