Friday, February 22, 2008

Changing Sizes in Spanish Shops

Major fashion retailers such as Zara and Mango are planning a new sizing system.They plan to abolish the traditional sizing method of 38,40 etc and replace it with new sizes which will have separate height, hip, waist and breast measurements. See the article.

Personnally, I think that there will always be a problem when retailers branch out globally. Average body shapes and sizes vary throughout the world. Zara and Mango clothes are cut to fit the young mediterranean woman pre baby i.e a narrow back and hips with a relatively small to medium bust. If you consider that in the UK what you pay in Euros you pay in pounds, they are targeting a professional thirty something market who will inevitably be carrying a bit of post baby weight or the result of too many business lunches.

On the other hand, American chains such as Gap really flatter our egos in comparison especially when a size 6 jeans slip on comfortably and still leave plenty of room to breathe and eat.Inevitably women will be disappointed when they move on to Zara and Mango only to discover that they struggle to get a size 40 skirt over their hips. Even a diet won't achieve what the British pear needs to fit into the spanish sizes because it is fundamentally a shape issue and not so much a weight one.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Freebie Mickey glasses in Eroski

If you shop in Eroski, they are running a promotion where you can get a set of free Disney character glasses. You need to ask at the counter. They give you stamps, which are impossible to peel the back off until you master the technique which you stick on the promotional information sheet that they give you. I stood for about ten minutes at the front of the store painstakingly peeling the stamps only to find when I got to the till that they give you just one glass per twenty stamps. Now I spent over sixty euros to be rewarded the stamp so you would need to spend six times that to qualify for the entire set. I know it is 't the most exciting topic but if I don't tell you about it, nobody else will.

The weather has been really bad here over the weekend. My friend has just returned to the UK froma weekend in Madrid where she says that the weather was pleasant. It has been windy for what seems like weeks now and it hasn't stopped raining for hours. The house is dark and if it wasn't for our very effective heaters in every room, I daresay we would be feeling the cold right now. That agent's spiel about sitting outside to eat 365 days a year is a load of rubbish. Then there's another one about 300 days of sunshine on the Costa del Sol. Although, this is slightly more realistic, I don't think that it is quite 300. Mind you, we should all make the most of it becuase when the hot summer finally arrives we are going to be yearning for a couple of days of this weather!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Walking in Spain

We (Justin and I) try to a big walk every morning first thing. We are done before ten and feel quite triumphant that we have done our exercise for the day. At first, I was really nervous of the stray campo dogs that would bark and sometimes snarl at us. The last but one lap of the walk involves walking up a steep hill. Today, we were shocked to see a horse trotting about free. My intial reaction was to turn around and go back the way we came but to our horror there were two campo dogs snarling at us at the foot of the hill. We carried on and pretended not to see any of them. Walking in Spain certainly gets your heart pumping!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spanish Loos

I always think the toilet is a good starting point in any restaurant. If the staff care enough to keep the toilets clean and equipped with soap, it is usually a sign that they are not too slovenly in the kitchen. If you were to judge most restaurants by their toilets than you probably wouldn’t eat out.

Toilets standards in Spain have improved so much over the past decade. They used to lack the basics such as soap or hand towels. They can still be very smoky especially in supermarkets where the staff sneak off for sneaky cigarette breaks. They are usually covered in graffiti, with doors that don’t lock and blocked toilets. They can be few and far between and not located in the most obvious places.

If you are a mother of a baby or a small child, it can be a struggle without the changing stations that we have become used to in the UK.

Carnival in Manilva

Well it was a cool carnival weekend in Manilva. When I say cool, it was absolutely freezing!!! There was a troupe of arabian dancers. I was quite nervous as they through their flames about in what feel like gale force winds wearing their highly flammable costumes. The manilva band great as usual but there wasn't much of a cavalcade. The turn out wasn't bad considering the weather but I think that a lot of people went home quicker than they would have done if the weather had been better.

We went to Gibraltar on Saturday morning. I must say Main Street shops have improved loads over the past few years and it is worth a trip for the Marks and Spencers fresh cookies. We usually have a picnic in the park with some goodies from that we buy from The Gibraltar Confectionary.However, on Saturday it was far too cold to eat al fresco. Gibraltar can be tricky eating out wise and people are often disappointed. It is best to head for Irish Town. Sacarello's is good for tea and fresh scones. Roy's in Casemates does scrummy fish and chips.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Healthy school kids in Spain?

Parents in the UK get a lot of stick for not making sure that their kids get enough exercise and allowing them to eat lots of junk. We look to the continent as an example. Yes, it's true that there are less convenience foods in the supermarkets and the spanish still cook from scratch but they are slipping into bad habits too.

We live on an urbanisation in a village near the coast. The walk to school from our urbanisation is about ten minutes. There are spanish families who take their car out of garage and drive through the awkward, narrow streets everyday rather than do the walk. It doesn't save them any time because we have timed ourselves walking in comparison. So they are no different to the Brits who drive their kids to school in the morning. Incidently, they too are mainly driving huge MPVs or jeeps even though they probably rarely go beyond a ten mile radius.

Another thing that caught my attention was that en route at half eight in the morning there are two kiosks open. These are tiny hut like shops crammed with every E number ever created and lined with wall to wall chucheria (sweets, cheap crisps etc). The children must take desayuno (breakfast) to school in the morning. We are given a daily plan outlining what it should be e.g Monday, fruit, Tuesday, sandwich but these kiosks don't stock anything that appears on the list for school. Missed opportunity there, I would say but no, they would rather stock the most lethal concotions in pretty colourful wrappers to hand out to the kids first thing in the morning.

Thankfully the Spanish children still 'play out' at the weekend and the parks are always full so the children get the opportunity to burn off their kiosk junk unlike the children in the UK who are in the habit of staying indoors playing on their consoles.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Next Directory Online In Spain

Have you been missing your familiar UK shaped clothes that yo can buy off the peg without having to try on??

Well, cancel your flights back to the UK as Next Directory online are delivering to Spain. Have a look:

Next in Spain

Be careful

I am just warning all parents, grandparents and anybody else looking after children to be careful. To cut a long story short, a friend of a friend's little girl was shopping with her mum and granny in La CaƱada shopping centre recently. They were in H&M comparing clothes etc when her mum looked down and noticed that she had disappeared out of sight. She had the sense to run to the front of the shop where she saw her little girl being lead by the hand out of the shop. She ran and grabbed her in time and the man ran off. This is not the only case that I have heard of. There is of course the case in Huelva and also attempted snatchings in Mijas, Benalmadena andTorreguadiaro near San Roque. These are the ones that I know of, there are lots more.I urge you all to be vigiliant all the time. Do not relax because this is Spain and it is a child loving coutry. Your children are at as much risk in Spain as they are in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Customer Service Rant

Okay so I know it isn't Carrefour but because that supermarket is jinxed for me, I will blame it anyway. I am actually complaining about the photo processing shop there. I took a memory stick full with photos. The girl tried it in the computer and said it wasn't formatted properly so they couldn't develop it. Justin took the same stick in a couple of hours later without doing anything to it and it worked fine. Now come on, how incompetent can you get. It really annoys me because I waste too much time and petrol trying to get things sorted out because staff aren't trained properly or just too lazy to do their jobs.