Friday, April 25, 2008

It's the end of the week...

Well it's Friday all ready. What was the slogan "Thank Crunchie it's Friday".?Well there's been no Crunchies for me this week in fact I have been good all week apart from a few minor mishaps with some Oreo and Principe cookies. I am also currently loving the molletes with lomo, queso y mayonesa that they do in Plaza Cafe in Estepona.Greasy but great!You have to be specific that you want a mollete and not a baguette because the combo doesn't "work" the same in a baguette.

I have been exercising to the max. Can't you tell how happy I am? it's all those endorphins, they got me buzzing.Today I walked a total of two hours. I should have the heart rate of an athlete by now! I parked at Estepona port and walked back and forward to a meeting at the other end of Calle Juan Carlos (close to Carrefour) and then I did it again whilst the girls went for their extra spanish lengua class.

Well highlight of the week, apart from losing half a kilo(she stuffs a donut in her mouth to stock up on much needed carbs), was the exciting discovery in Alcampo supermarket.I finally got to fill my childhood dream of working on a cashtill despite working in countless shops as a student. Unfortunately, I was never trusted enough to be put on a real life till and had to make do with filling shelves and the like but this week in Alcampo I had the pleasure of trying out the self swipe and pay tills that they have installed. This is definitely the way forward. No queuing and no miserable shop assistants to humour. You scan in the products and then you select form of payment.It is so easy, even the carrier bags are in the "open" position on this nifty little holder that you don't get at regular tills.It's perfect if you and your friends are feeling a bit nostalgic and want to play "shops".That's what it felt like, being a child all over again and passing the products through the scanner.

In a state of exaltation I declared to the assistant overseeing the section that this was the best invention ever. She was happy and cheerful in her job unlike the girls stuck behind the tills so please lets get more of these tills. I suppose the only problem with this system is an increase in pilferage hence the girl standing nearby.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Exercise

I have just got back from my walk which is finally turning into a run. Whilst you are doing it, it hurts but afterwards the rush from the endorphins is incredible. For those who suffer from mild depression, they say that the benefits of regular exercise are equivalent to taking anti-depressants. I have to say that once you get over the initial exercise dread and avoidance, it has a really significant impact on your mood and lasts throughout the day. I can understand how people become addicted to a particular sport such as running.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update

How do you like the colour of my blog? It's very green I know but it is spring.

When I went for my campo walk this morning all the lambs were out and the dogs were in. That's how I like it!Not that I don't like dogs but these guys are pretty ferocious and are on guard. How do I convince them that I am not an intruder?

That walk never gets easier despite the fact that I have been doing it regularly since September. There is a really steep hill about two thirds of the way along and it really makes you break out into a sweat, a perfect cardiovascular workout. One of these days I am going to run it but not this week because the temperature has risen which is good news for anyone on the way out.

Well it was the final birthday party yesterday after a spell of parties. That will be it for a little while and then there will be a partying season around May and June. It's funny how children befriend those born around the same time of year. I arrived late at last night's one after a drama in Los Barrios. I took the girls to a shoe shop called Merkal, can't remember but it is worth a trip. They have loads of choice and the shoes are good quality and cheap. It is set out like a warehouse where the shoes are all stacked up in boxes. They have adults shoes too but I also find that they are too narrow.There is a really good choice of children's trainers. They aren't branded but they are perfect for school. I found a couple of pairs for the girls which are really colorful and hopefully, durable and they were just eleven euros a pair.

We then went into blast from the past C&A and I found a couple of jerkins (does anybody else use this word?) for the girls in the sale. They are just the right thickness, perfect for entretiempo. I love this word that they use a lot to describe clothes in Spain. I suppose in English we would say lightweight but I don't think that there is a specific word that conveys the same notion of not winter but not quite summer.

Now going back to the story, one of the girls lost her first milk tooth yesterday. No, the wrong way around it was her first milk tooth to fall out. Clutching on to it, she refused to let me put in a safe place i.e the cup holder in the car or wrapped in a piece of tissue and placed in a pocket in her bag. So the inevitable happens. She loses it and doesn't dare moan because she knows that she would get the "I told you so"speech. Luckily for her either the fairies or Ratoncito Perez
found it and left two shiny coins under her pillow.She doesn't know whether she heard bells or squeaking. The other twin is starting to panic that none of her teeth are showing any signs of wobbliness.


We are all really enjoying Mika's album "Life in Cartoon Motion". The girls particular like Lollipop so thanks Jo.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Party Time

It has been parties galore here. Friday evening was a little friend's third birthday. On Saturday the girls had their party. It was great fun with two hours of non stop party games including tug of war (parents joined in) and pin the tail on the donkey.The children loved it. Usually Spanish parties are all about the food but even though there was food, the emphasis was definitely on the games which was novel for all their school friends. Lots of parents got into the swing of it and a couple were quite taken by the concept of pass the parcel. The party was held in a garage but not an ordinary one. A mother called Nanci hires out her basement which has a fridge, a play area/park,tables and chairs. You have the keys for the day and it costs 70euros to hire and an extra 15 euros to clean it afterwards. I think that that is fairly reasonable because it is a really good sized space.

There is another birthday party tomorrow for a little boy at school and then that should be it for a little while until the next one!

Communicating

When we had the parents meeting the other afternoon with the new teacher she made a really good point about the importance of communicating. She wasn't suggesting that everyone should get their heads down and get fluent. The point that she was trying to make was that there are people who are so conscious of getting their tense right etc that they never actually get around to communicating in Spain but those that don't get so hung up about the minor details often do better because they place the emphasis on communicating and therefore practise speaking more, gradually becoming more fluent.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

New teachers

My children (twins) are on their third class teacher of the year. No the children aren't driving them away but for health reasons and whatever they have had three teachers. They have all been lovely in their own way and the children appear to have adapted well. This latest teacher is really cool and unconventional and quite Montessori in her style. It's actually really refreshing that she wants to involve the parents and today I was invited to join in the class where I had the opportunity to teach the children an English game. Since it was my twins birthday I decided to play Pass the Parcel. It was really interesting to watch how the spanish children can be just like the English children although not quite as bad (perhaps because the english children have had more practise) at subtley lingering with the present until they thought the music would stop.

I was allowed to join in with the usual morning practise of circle time on the mat, register, a dance that they do every morning and then they all hug each other. Their teacher is really loving and creative and it would be great if she was going to stay with them next year. However, they will have her until the end of June and then they begin primary school in September.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Dryer

The most awkward thing about the rain is not being able to put clothes outside to dry. There's just not enough space for a tumble dryer where we live so when the rainy season hits the washing piles up to the point where the basket overflows and by the end of the week one bathroom becomes covered in dirty laundry. If I am really desperate I put things over the heaters, the ones with the signs on them that say "Do not cover" which needless to say I am uncomfortable with.However, once the summer comes I think "What do I need a tuble dryer for two weeks of the year when during the rest of the year everything dries in minutes?"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cold and Wet

The title says it all. If you are coming out bring your wellies and a rain jacket. I have a cupboard full or rain appropriate wear but I still managed to arrive home soggy!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Twins in Spain

I had my twins in England and they were two and a half when we came out. In the UK, if you wanted it, there was a lot of support for families with multiples. There are lots of organisations including Tamba and lots of clubs that organise meet ups. I kind of missed that when I came to Spain as I have never found any equivalents although I am sure there are, it's just a case of finding them.It is good to chat with other parents of twins as the dynamics are different to regular siblings. So I am going to do some research and write a piece on having and raising twins in Spain.

If you have or you are expecting twins in Spain, this is the most informative site that I have found so far:

partosmultiples.net

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rain at last!

Well all those holidaymakers that were enjoying the sun and the beach yesterday must be sorely disappointed as it has been raining quite heavily today.It is really needed though as we have had hardly any rain this winter compared with last year. Even though I took a rain jacket out with me, it still caught me out as my shoes quickly filled up with water. You are mistaken if you thing that you don't need wellies in Spain!Boots and brolleys at the ready as I am sure that there will be plenty more before summer.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Good Weekend

Saturday was spent hanging about the house for a change and a lovely bbq at a friend's/neighbours in the afternoon. On Sunday we got up to check out the ice rink in Gibraltar and we were not disappointed. We got there early at about 10.30 and it was reasonably quiet. It's actually very good value at 4pounds for an hours worth of skating at peak time. The boots are all brand new and good quality. The staff are attentive and helpful and even helped us to put the girls skates on! The hour went very quickly and we could have easily have spent a couple of hours there. I can't wait to go back again.

Lunch at Estribo in Sabinillas which has to be one of the best restaurants on the coast and met up with friends for ice creams. Early to bed tonight after watching a couple of episodes of Sex and The City.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Man Behind it All

The man that first dreamt up the idea of brits basking on Spanish beaches and mass tourism has dies at 85. See the Guardian article.He really was the catalyst for it all and it makes you wonder if it hadn't been for him would we have had the opportunity to come and make a life in Spain as we all have done?I wonder what he felt about the finished product? Would someone else have done it if it hadn't been him?

Colder Inside

It's strange at the moment because it's colder indoors than out so ironically you actually find yourself putting on clothes when you are indoors. I have seen lots of scantily clad Brits about in the usual places Carrefour etc. Maybe it's just me but I don't feel that it's hot enough to strip off. I am still wearing a jacket and jeans at the moment.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Leisure Centre in Gibraltar

King's Bastion Sport & Leisure Centre in Gibraltar is open. I hear that there is bowling and a real ice rink. Since the Benalamdena ice rink closed I believe that the nearest ice rink for the Costa del Sol area was in Sierra Nevada. There is also a "well equipped amusement games arcade, a pool and snooker tables lounge, a multi-station internet lounge, a youth lounge and bar with further games and entertainment facilities such as big screens and others, a discoteque, and an adult terrace bar. It will shortly also contain a two screen cinema and a personal fitness centre".