Friday, October 31, 2008

Back to the UK

I am off to the UK next week since my sister is due to give birth any minute now. I have been thinking about the things that I miss in the UK. Here they are:

bookshops with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of choice
libraries!!!! oh how I miss libraries
buy one get one frees! Carrefours Buy One get Second Half Price just isn't a deal as far as I am concerned
value products in supermarkets which are dirt cheap like a loaf of bread for 19p
the bread and all kinds of stuff that gets left over at the end of the day in the supermarket that you pay pennies for
Charity shops which are really well organise and don't smell musky like the ones here and you can get books for pennies and clothes with the tags still on them because they have come from the stores themselves

Is it really cheaper living in Spain?It swings in roundabouts I think.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I know that this is all I seem to go on about but it is really, really nippy, proper hats, scarves, tights and thick socks weather. Yesterday, it did warm up at about midday but today it has been cold throughout. I actually prefer it to the August heat. At least you can get on with your life. Just need to get some cosy socks, maybe some of those really thick ones you get with the grips on the bottom. Toasty!Starting to feel Christmasy now. Will be wrapping up warm tonight, lighting some candles and tucking into some scrummy lasagne.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

El Corte Ingles Website

Just what is the point of this website?

Its freezing!!

Yesteray was a scorching summer's day and one of my neighbour said "it's going to get cold tomorrow, it will be the start of winter". "Yeah right" I thought wiping the sweat from my brow. Well low and behold, today is freezing!!!It's a real day for staying indoors with lots of tea and biscuits.

We tried those huesitos de santos that you may have seen in the shops. They are traditionally eaten in Spain around this time of year on All Saints and All Soul's Day. They are yummy if you like marzipan but not cheap, a couple of euros for abox containing about eight in Lidl.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Resting

Today I am doing something they I only ever do for an hour at night. I am sitting on the sofa with a lovely, cuddly throw over me. The throw is sooo soft and was five euros from Primark in Jerez. Needless to say I bought two. I have decided to sit and surf and not feel bad about it. I need a rest as I keep feeling faint.

It's a dull day today but it isn't very cold.The weather is so strange. On Monday I was sweltering in my jeans and it reached about 27 degrees but today it is lower but not cold enough to wear the jacket that you need to protect yourself from the rain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Flies

Is it just me or are there loads of flies around at the moment. They are just so relentless and kind of stick to you. So annoying!Just as I am typing this they are hurling their bodies against my window, nutters!

It's starting to get Chritmassy here. Carrefour are setting up their juguetes tent. A really good place to get stocking fillers for kids is the shop in Estepona Casa Bahia. I think that the owners are moroccan. Much better quality than what's on offer at the similarly priced Chinese shops and none of that cheap plasticy smell that makes me retch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tana Ramsay

I take back what I said about this woman. I have finally plucked up enough courage to try another recipe from her book and guess what, it worked! The pumpkin risotto was soooo easy and came out really well so Justin and I enjoyed a generous helping last night and there's enough for tonight too as a side dish. Here's how to do it:

400g risotto rice
100g butter, she says 150g but after what happened last time with her quantities I decided to err on the side of caution
couple litres of chicken stock
cubed pumpkin

Put the above in a casserole, chuck in oven at 200 for however long it takes (I don't go by her timing, you just got to kepp checking it so until the stock is almost abosorbed)
Add a handful of frozen peas and cover with about 200g of parmesan or you could do half cheddar

Once the stock is absorbed and rice is soft but not mushy, it's ready. Mix in some grilled bacon.

You could cook it on the hob but like Tana says if it's in the oven you can get on with other things like helping the kids with their homework. Err hello Tana, don't you have a nanny for that?

The walk and the seagull

We (me and the mums) did a walk today along the paseo in Sabinillas today. We were going to turn back at Duquesa port but decided to carry on. We walked out to the end of the cliff and found a seagull entagled in fishing rod wire with the hook stuck in its thrroat. It was obviously in distress so we rushed to the port authorities or whatever it is they call themselves.

We were greeted by a work experience girl who was pleasant enough but obvioulsy felt like she wasn't in authority to make a decision and suggested that we wait for her superior who was at break.

Anyway, this port authority chick shows up and her response to the three panic stricken faces before her was "Ni, idea" as in "I have no idea". In other words "computer says no" with droney expression indicating sod off, can't help you three bottom of the costa del sol social hierachy foreign, animal loving activist mums with nothing better to do. She said that she would send someone to have a look. I thought "Hello, don't you want to come and have a look yourself?" Shouldn't a young girl stuck out in a dull office on a cliff want an excuse to get out once in a while? Aren't humans naturally curious beings that should want to see the reason behind the panic stricken faces?

Fortunately, a local guy saved the day. We managed to get a pair of scissors from a restaurant with the intention of at least letting the bird free. When we arrived, the local man has done the deed, removed the hook and set it free. We all, three of us, wanted to kiss him but we didn't.Oh and we returned the scissors, in case you were wondering.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday continued

Just got back from doing my shopping, this week in Eroski. I am not one of these people who has to go to the same supermarket every week because they like to know where everything is. On the contrary, I find supermarket shopping so boring that I look for ways to make it as exciting as possible and not knowing where anything is makes me try out new products, different things that I probably wouldn't otherwise try.

So today, the new things that I have bought are pumpkin in slices just to put in the oven and devour, yummy. A Crema Catalana that comes in a terracotta dish, kind of desert that would cost a bomb in Marks and Spencer, a Seleqtia (Eroski's equivalent of Sainsbury's 'The Best', I think it was called when I lived there) Natilla de Huevo con caramelo. That also comes in a cute little terracotta pot, I am a sucker for presentation! Since I am already thinking of Christmas and I know I am not the only one, Maria de Castro, I bought the kind of thing that we would love to pick on at Christmas or any tie of year, a tray with a selection of aperitivos including chorizo casero, Fuet extra de payes, queso semi curado, almendra frita and some olive flavoured sticks for dipping. I also bought Eroski own brand multifrutas nectar with added vita min C which is a bargain at around 55cents for a litre, some lovely giant croissants for a Saturday morning breakfast treat, my children call them cangrejos (crabs).

En route to the supermarket I stopped in at Gaudi, the perfumery opposite the curtain and bedding shop in Sabinillas. They have like a purple sign outside. The girl who runs it, I thinks she owns it too, Belen is lovely. She does all kinds of beauty treatments too. Anyway, we got sidetracked and got into talking about travelling and she was saying that Morrocco was a fantastic place to visit so I feel a trip to Tangier coming on. Has anyone been?

Dull and dreary

That's the weather today, although it isn't actually cold. I enjoy it after a long hot summer, it washes a bit of the sun damage away. Let's catch up. On Saturday we went to Tivoli World in Benalmadena to celebrate a birthday. It was so much fun, a really good idea for a birthday treat for a six year old and a good plan for parents who are just partied out and longing to do something different.I really like Tivoli, it has a real fifties/sixties american theme park vibe.

On Sunday we went to another birthday party, it's that age when everyone celebrates their birthday! The party was good fun and since the party games at the girls party British party games have been very much in vogue here. So we did all the musical one, statues, bumps and chairs, Simon says. The mum could have been a bit organised and we would have done "pass the parcel" or as they call it in spanish "pasalo, pasalo" but I guess with all the food and drink and 101 things to prepare for a party there wsn't time.

On Wednesday, I had the Algeciras experience. I really like Algeciras, great shops all in one street including a huuuuge Zara with Zara home included, loads of shoe shops, Women's Secret, Mayoral for funky kids clothes, Stradavarius for the latest in fashion. There are lots of lovely bars for breakfast and I think that it would be a really good place to go out for a meal in the evening. Maria took us for a breakfast in the most charming bar which is her regular haunt called Rebolo. The bar is actually padded for the clients comfort and they play music from the eighties and nineties in the background. I had the most delicious spanish omellete in a roll and the coffee was perfect.I had two cups and I'm a tea girl. The locals are so friendly and it feels like a thousand miles from the Costa del Sol. I will post some pics next entry.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mothercare in Spain

I had an email from a lady in Alhaurin de la Torre and this is what she says:

"As you may or may not know, the new shopping centre at Plaza Mayor has recently opened. Very well set out and has some great shops. As there are a lot of expat mums..........or soon to be mums............ out there I thought it would be useful for them to know that there is a Mothercare store in this shopping centre"

Thank you for than information.

Just for the record, I spotted a mothercare in Cordoba city when we were there last month.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dehumidifier

With the heavy downpour we had a bit of a leak at the beginning of the week. The whole of the top room was flooded. We were concerned about future damp problems so we tried to hire a dehumidifier. Strangely enough since he had none to hire the man at the hire shop advised us to buy one. We managed to find one, Carrefour's own brand, for around one hundred euros. I have to say we are very impressed with the results. I left my washing up there that evening and it was bone dry by the morning! We will have to wait and see if we end up with any damp though.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Heat

The sun has come out in full force this afternoon. It is so difficult to know what to put on in the morning. Just had a Mercadona choc chip muffin for merienda, they are delicious.

procrastination

I invented procrastination and I am getting worse as the years go by. As a form of procrastination I am taking a break to tell you about these yummy biscuits that I have been eating all morning. They are Bizcochos Palitos de La Reine by La Cestera and you can buy them in Lidly. They are really cheap and scarely moreish. They come in one big bag of four packets and I have eaten a packet already this morning.

chilly

Bit chilly so far today but I haven't left the house yet so it could turn out to be one of those days where it is warmer outside than in. I am actually wearing a cardi today and my bare feet are starting to turn a bit blue. I have to say though it is much more comfortable then the height of summer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

website find

I really like this website. You need never waste a scrap of food again. Are you listening nueva andalucia woman that can make a week's worth of dinners out of one chicken? This one is for you.

The snake

The snake has been eaten by my beautiful cat Paris, yuck I won't be kissing her today, snake breath!

snakes!!!!!

Just opened my front door to find a big fat snake in my path. Initial reaction is that it must be a toy but no it is alive and moving so I slam the door in its face. I thought all the snakes had gone with the downturn of the property market. I ring Justin to inform him but his response is "Who am I Crocodile Dundee?"

school uniform

I can't believe how expensive school uniform is in this country. Thankfully my children go to a state school where they cannot enforce it but sometimes opting for uniform does make life easier. I have just bought them a pair of uniform tracksuit bottoms for PE and they cost 19 euros per pair!! I have just checked on the Marks and Spencers website and tracksuit bottoms which are probably of a superior quality are just five pounds a pair.