Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A Traditional Spanish Christmas!

Festivities usually start around the 22nd of December and continue until the 6th of January when the 'Three Kings' arrive and gifts are exchanged.

The National Christmas lottery, 'El Gordo, the fat one', is held on the 22nd of December and tickets can be bought in bars and on the streets from ticket sellers.  Tickets cost around 20-25€.  The winning numbers are sung out by school children on national television.

Another tradition not to be missed is the wonderful 'Belenes', which are displays which depict the nativity scene (Belen means Bethlehem in Spanish).  These can be found in homes, churches, and public spaces.  There is usually a huge one in the departures hall at Malaga Airport.

On Christmas Eve – 'La Noche Buena' cities like Malaga and Seville are crowded with people enjoying the spectacular Christmas lights.  In rural areas the celebrations start early in afternoon.  In local bars and restaurants you will find large gatherings of families and friends from all generations enjoying the spirit of Christmas.  You may also come across the carol singers, 'Los Campanilleros', which in itself is a moving experience.

Early on Christmas Eve the local community will start to drift towards their homes to enjoy a meal consisting of Seafood starters, plates of ham and cheese along with local specialities followed by the traditional turkey.

Usually only small gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve as traditionally the time for giving and receiving more substantial gifts is on the 6th of January.

In most cities, towns and villages on New Year's Eve, 'La Noche Vieja',  people will gather in plazas to enjoy local entertainment and of course the obligatory class of Cava (or two!) whilst waiting for the chimes that signal the arrival of the New Year.   Usually the celebrations are rounded off by a fireworks display.

On the 5th of January in many towns and villages a parade will take place called 'Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, which heralds the arrival of 'The Three Kings'.  There will be floats with children and adults all dressed in costumes, followed by local bands and town dignitaries.  Those participating in the parade throw sweets into the crowds and this will cause a scramble amongst the children watching, to see who can collect the most sweets.  A word of warning here the sweets thrown are normally boiled and one has to be careful that they don't loose an eye!

The festivities end on the 6th with the exchanging of gifts and then it is back to normality until Easter which is an entirely different experience altogether!

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Monday, 1 November 2010


1. "1. "Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young." ~ Author Unknown

2. "Mothers are all slightly insane." ~ J.D. Salinger

3. "I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them." ~ Phyllis Diller

4. "There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it." ~ Chinese Proverb

5. "It takes a woman twenty years to make a man of her son, and another woman twenty minutes to make a fool         of him." ~ Helen Rowland

6. "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." ~ Calvin Trillin

7. "A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car for ever after." ~ Peter De Vries

8. "It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~ Phyllis Diller

9. "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his." ~ Oscar Wilde

10. "A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." ~ Tenneva Jordan

11. "You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back." ~William D. Tammeus.

12. "Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life." ~ Author Unknown

13. "Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease." ~ Lisa Alther

14. "My mother had to send me to the movies with my birth certificate, so that I wouldn't have to pay the extra fifty cents that the adults had to pay." ~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

15. "My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." ~ Mark Twain

16. "My mother's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it." ~ Buddy Hackett

Yes, children often give their mothers something to laugh about. Hopefully it makes up for the things their children will inevitably do to make them cry.

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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Brits Overseas Property Searches Up 100%

Spain continues to be one of the most popular expat destinations for British people, according to the most recent data. According to research from property website Primelocation, internet searches in Britain for property abroad are at a record high, up over 100 per cent from this time last year.

Data from the company's international search index shows that searches for Spanish property increased the most. Last month, there was a 151 per cent increase in searches compared to June 2009, and the country accounted for nearly a third of searches overall.

Despite a potential rise in capital gains tax and a precarious economic situation in southern Europe, investors appear to be taking a long term view on the market, while hoping, in the short term, to take advantage of a weaker euro.

Ann Wright, International Development Manager of Primelocation International, said: "While the market in Spain has suffered from some bad publicity recently, there has been no significant drop in the number of people searching for property in the country on Primelocation International.

"The fact remains that there are many reasons why the country remains attractive to British buyers. Spain's main attractions are still the warm climate, great beaches and unique culture all just a short flight from the UK; these factors will still draw in international buyers whatever the economic situation.

"It is also worth remembering that, while most of the problems experienced in recent years have centered on

Costa del Sol properties, there is far more to the Spain than just the southern coast."

Following Spain was France, the U.S, Portugal and Italy. Searches for property in the U.S ,increased by nearly 200 per cent on last year's figures.

The upturn in international property searching contrasts sharply with the volatility experienced during the banking crisis in the late summer of 2007 when searches fell by 38.5 per cent between July and August.

Primelocation also revealed a third of all those considering buying property abroad are looking to emigrate permanently. By contrast, only 23.7 per cent of the 1,500 investors questioned were looking for an overseas holiday home and only 12.4 per cent were searching for an investment property. A further 15.3 per cent were foreign buyers looking to purchase a UK property.

Story from Telegraph



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Tuesday, 27 July 2010


According to the Euro Weekly, new figures have revealed that the crime rate in Britain is more than double the crime rate here in Spain.

Three European countries have the lowest crime rates and one of them is Spain with 44 offences per 1,000 people.  Compare this to the UK which has one of the highest rates, with 91 offences per 1,000 people.

150,200 National Police and Guardia Civil, have solved 40.5 per cent of crimes. The result is that less than 10 per cent of the population regard crime as a problem in Spain.

The police have take a stand against money laundering since 2003, and last year 115 operations against this type of organised crime were carried out.

Statistics will be revealed at a seminar called Safety Strategies: Police Co-operation and Citizen Participation, which, is being held in Santander.  The aim of the seminar is to show the importance of the different forces within the EU working side by side to fight crime and to identify new risks, connected to globalisation and the development of new technologies.  Also identifying which civilians can help in the fight against crime will be another aim of the Seminar.


Do you reckon there is anything the population on the Costa del Sol can do to help keep up the good work?

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Friday, 2 July 2010


I saw this article on

PGM Property World Spain Blog and I thought it was worth sharing with you all. Let me know your thoughts!

There is no denying that the Spanish property market, like many others around the world, has been hit hard by the current recession, but if the figures just released are anything to go by, it looks as though things may be turning the corner.

Last Friday saw the Spanish government report the first increase in house sales in three years.  In the final quarter of 2009, property sales rose by 4.1% against the same period of last year, making it the first year-on-year rise since 2006.   With a total of 130,572 properties finding their way off the market between October and December, this represented a 21.4% increase on the period between July to September.

With the recession in Spain really starting to bite towards the latter end of 2008, the property market during the whole of the year 2009 was never likely to be anything other than fairly dismal.  Indeed, with just over 413,000 sales throughout the course of 2009, this represented an 18% decrease over the previous year and a drop of 46% on 2007.

Reports indicate that the national statistics seem to be suggesting, however, that Spanish property prices may well be bottoming out, making this an excellent time for investors to make their move.  Although recovery may still be slow to arrive, as is always the case, it is bound to happen, and it is those who get their timing just right who will undoubtedly make the greatest gains.

Of course with its great climate, ease of accessibility and the cheap cost of flights into Malaga Airport, the Costa del Sol has continued to be a firm favourite for holidaymakers despite uncertain economic times.  As the pressures begin to ease, it is also almost certain to continue to be one of the most popular choices for those in the UK who are looking to emigrate or invest in a holiday home or rental property.

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Monday, 17 May 2010

The Icelandic Volcano Update.

The volcanic ash has been causing disruption to our airspace for weeks. For all of you travellers out there read it and weep! According to the Volcanic Ash Advisory office it looks like the volcano will be bubbling away in the background for the foreseeable future. I hope it moves off Ireland this week or my plans to visit the homeland on the Thursday will be rightly scuppered.

Volcanic Ash Advisory
17 May 2010

Volcanic Ash update issued at 1300 hrs on Sunday May 16th
The activity of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano continues and the plume is currently reaching up to between 20000 and 30000 feet (latest information received from the Icelandic Met Office).
The Icelandic Met Office also states that there are no signs that the eruption is about to end.
Northwesterly winds are pushing a plume of volcanic ash southeastwards over Ireland at the moment. This plume will remain over Irish airspace tonight.
A southwesterly airflow will become established over Ireland on Monday and will gradually push the plume away from us to the northeast. The plume should clear from over Munster and Connacht and by Monday night and then continue to clear from Leinster and Ulster overnight and on Tuesday morning.
The mainly southwesterly airflow will persist through the rest of the week and should keep the ash away from Irish airspace.


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Monday, 10 May 2010

The Mum Test!

Someone sent this to me and I thought with the weather the way it is, we working women needed a bit of a laugh. Enjoy!!

I was out walking with my 3-year-old daughter. She picked up something
off of the ground and started to put it in her mouth.
I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.
'Why?' my daughter asked.
'Because it's been on the ground; you don't know where it's been, it's dirty,
And probably has germs,' I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked,
'Mum, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.'
I was thinking quickly and replied, 'All mums know this stuff. It's on
the Mum Test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mum.'
We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently
pondering this new information.
'Oh.....I get it!' she beamed, 'So if you don't pass the test you have
to be the dad.'
'Exactly,' I replied with a big smile on my face.

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