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Our Andalusian Adventure

Our Andalusian Adventure is me trying to let you into our journey from the UK to a small village in the mountains, myself Danni, Paul, our two daughters Olivia and Chloe and our pets Ted the staffie and Duke and Duchess our cats.

08 January 2021

Wow, i knew i hadn't blogged in a while but i never thought it was 15 months ago!

I'm sorry i've been absent and i hope to make it more regular now... This feels quite daunting as alot has happened in this time and it might make my brain hurt trying to remember everything!

It's probably best to start by stating that all is good, we are still in gorgeous Andalucia and still loving it! Even though while i am writing this it is pouring with rain and it hasnt stopped since yesterday but we so need it, it's been a very dry year!

So here we go i'm going to try and summarise our life since October 2019 but it will be in installments.

I think the easiest way for me to remember is to look back through my Instagram, which by the way is @dannidoes if anyone wants to keep uptodate on our adventures.

Making the most of the fabulous weather for All Saints Day 2019 (1st Nov) we took a trip to one of our favourite local beaches Burriana playa, it was a incredible 28 degrees and we all enjoyed relaxing and trying to spot the odd dolphin.  Burriana is part of Nerja and has a nice choice of restaurants and shops including a very famous Paella restaurant 'Ayo' where for 8 euro you can eat as much as you want wink

Burriana Playa

They have three huge paella pans where many people will stop and watch them create this wonderful dish with wood fire underneath. A great atmosphere for a yummy sunday afternoon lunch. The other great thing about Burriana is the sea, it has the most beautiful turquoise water and if you take a kayak around to Maro you will find a hidden waterfall full of marine life. As you can imagine a very popular place with limited parking best visitied out of peak season.

The remainder of the month was spent riding bikes around the lake (lake vinuela), writing christmas lists, dog walking, a school trip to the Science Park in Granada which Chloe enjoyed and at the end a trip to el Corte Ingles for Christmas inspiration. The shop was decorated beautifully and i added to our Christmas bauble collection heart

Lake Vineula

I almost forgot November also included 'Ruta de Tapa' where local bars and restaurants compete to win the best tapa award. You are given a leaflet with all the bars and their tapa. The cost is 2 euro for a drink (beer) and a tapa once eaten you must score it out of a 5. You have 3 days to go to every bar and give your score. This was our first and we loved it! Our favourite was created by Manolo at Meson El Ciervo and it was a slow cooked deer on a mushroom with cheese and a little rice with a gravy. Delicioso!!!! Needless to say they won the competition and the prize is your weight in beer!laugh Among other things. We cannot wait for the next one, most villages also do their own so we will be have to go along to theirs too and show our support wink

December arrived and its funny because December starts to feel like a second spring, we have the odd day of rain and lots of wild flowers appear and what was brown is now green with grass, its quite hard to get your head around.

As there is no october half term in Spain the 2 day bank holiday at the beginning of December is most welcome! Time to relax and not think about school or homework!

Next was Olivia's 12th birthday and this year we went to the Escape rooms in Benalmadena 'Prison Island' she took 2 friends and they were 1 team and Paul, Chloe and 1 were on another. We had a great time, great physical and mental exercise and all came out ravenous. Another beautiful sunny day, so we headed to the large park with a playground, birds and a lake (i can't remember the name!) It was alot of fun and only a hours drive away.

The following day we put up the tree and awaited the arrival of the g'parents for Olivia's actual birthday on the 12th. They had a great week here and were blessed with good weather. Finished off with a trip to our favourite Steak place Venta el Charco, fantastic steak and trimmings with wonderful views of La Maroma smiley


After Olivia's birthday its always full steam ahead into Christmas, with many school shows and nativities. Alcaucin puts on a lovely Nativity with a donkey and all the characters including a bull - well it is Spain! And of course the girls had to have a little donkey ride!


Just before Christmas we headed to Malaga for the annual Christmas light and music show in Calle Larios. It's becoming a bit of a tradition now. This year we went with some friends and enjoyed a cocktail on the roof top bar over looking the port, this was a real treat if you could find a seat wink

Christmas day was fab, we ate outside and made the most of the weather.

Boxing day we got out and had a lovely walk around Lake Vinuela, Ted especially enjoyed this with a play in the water! Chloe and i even got our feet wet too! A good walk finished off with turkey and stuffing sandwiches, heaven!

A great way to say goodbye to our home as we would then be flying back to the UK for a few days to see family and friends heart


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Fiesta's and winning
11 October 2019

Jeez we're having to go along way back to catch you up now.... All the way back to May in fact!

After our little trip to the UK it was so good to be back and celebrate my Wedding Anniversary, 9 years and we've done so much. I wonder what we will do next year to celebrate 10 years laugh 

Up next is the San Isidro Festival which is one of the main fiestas here in Andalucia, San Isidro is the saint of the campo (countryside) and is definitely in my top 3 fiestas list. On the Saturday of the celebrations in the morning we all met by the edge of the village and processed up into the mountain. The awesome Oxon led the procession followed by beautiful horses, dogs and people. Every 1km or so we all had a break and consumed ham and cheese washed down with local sweet wine and beer laughlaugh  Fantastic! By the time we got to the Alcazar we were very merry indeed. There we danced and ate Arroz while admiring the stunning views.

It was a suprise to find two of these tied to the trees outside the church on my way to the market

The following weekend we travelled to Cartama with Chloe for her rhythmic gymnastics team competiton. It was her first competition and we were all a bit nervous. After quite a few hours the results were in and fantastically they won!! We were all thrilled! A really good day in a relatively new hobby for Chloe.

Our friends from the UK were back in Marbella for a holiday but with prior arrangements the only day we could all meet up was Monday after school. The great thing about the girls finishing school at 2.30 is that you can still have go out and do things in the afternoon. Anyway we decided to meet in Torre del mar and go to a beach bar Tanit. It offers great food and drinks in a idyllic setting right on the beach. The children could play in the sea and the adults could catch up. A lovely time was had and lasted well into the evening with us all not wanting it to end.....

Another first for us is Ruta de tapa wow what a brilliant idea, for those of you know who don't know what it is you get a card with all the restaurants which are taking part, the dish they are creating and a place to add your score. We had three days to complete the 12 tapa dishes, and thoroughly enjoyed discovering new bars and new tapa! 

The best thing about this specific weekend had to be the Champions League Final smiley being a Liverpool supporter all my life it was so amazing to see them lift the cup again! It was also pretty special watching it in our local bar with the locals who also supported Liverpool on the night. Not sure they quite enjoyed it as much as me or the bit where i sang You'll Never Walk Alone oops ha ha laugh

With a little bit of a sorehead we took it easy on the Sunday and checked out a park in Velez Malaga, we soon discovered that Sunday afternoon is not the time anyone else visits park's in Spain as we were pretty much the only people there blush We really liked it though with lots to do including Tennis courts, Astroturf football pitch, playground, bike track among other things.

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Owning and Maintaining an old character Spanish town house
04 September 2019

This edition is written by my lovely husband Paul, i hope you find it useful.

I absolutely adore our new home, it is amazing and has some of the most beautiful views.

The location is perfect, within walking distance to all the local bars, shops, banks and school. We are also so lucky to be on the edge of the Sierra Tejeda national Park with spectacular walks views and wildlife. We also have Vinuela lake a 5 - 10 minute drive where you can walk, bike, fish and enjoy a day on the lake surrounded in the areas natural beauty. Not to mention only a 20 - 25mins drive to the beach.

There are also numerous things we have learnt since moving here, from the ups and downs of purchasing property in Spain, Residencia, schools, language  and maintaining old character properties, pools.

As I say above our house is beautiful, yet for someone like myself, who isn't the best at DIY to say the least this has made me get out of my comfort zone to maintain, upkeep and fix the needs of our new home.

For this reason i have listed some of the trials and tribulations we have overcome in the past year:

Winter months:

We are over 500mts above sea level and whilst this brings amazing views and a wonderful array of activities on our doorstep, it does get cold at night from the end of November to March. Moving from the UK you don't realise how easy it is to flick the switch on the central heating to warm you up whilst you walk on lush carpets. These houses are designed to keep cool. We have 3 pellet stoves and they are good, yet they do need frequent cleaning and always ensure you have sufficient pellet bags as people can panic buy.

I have taken advice and researched ways of heating from Gas Central heating, solar, pellet stove central heating and Air Conditioning and am still yet to decide on which is best.

November last year was the wettest month we have had in the year we have been here so farI also advise to get some thick rugs these months, it does help keep the house cosy.

Bugs and Insects:

April and May seems to be the season for all kinds of bugs to attack your house. We have a lot of old beams in our house, and the insects and bugs keep you on your toes. Lacquering beams and wood to protect your house is a must.

Carcoma, Térmites, Processionary caterpillars etc are not something we considered when purchasing our house in the UK yet in this tropical climate are all things potential buyers need to be aware of. 


What a luxury, and we love our pool! Perfect for these hot summer days! 

Yet maintenance and upkeep is important. Maintaining chemical levels, ensuring the pump is on for the right amount of time for the time of year, at the right time of day, hoovering etc was all new to me yet I can now say I definitely have OPCD (Obsessive Pool Cleaning Dissorder) as there is nothing better than a gleaming pool. 

The locals and our friends have always been happy to help and offer advice and support if needed and we are thankful to all of them. We have ran building improvement projects, resolved plumbing, pool, infestation problems and people have jumped to help and support me with my limited knowledge.

One of the wises moves we made was finding good building / maintenance people to help and support us. We have used Nacho Martin of Escanda Building Services for our key building work and installations and he has always gone over and above helping us with some of the projects and challenges we have had over the past 12 months.

Well, here is to the next 12months of our new lives in the Sun. We have all learned a lot (not just the language), by emmersing ourselves into the local culture and have made many friends along the way.






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18 July 2019

It has been quite a while since i have written a blog over 4 months in fact, i firmly believe in timing and not forcing things, so as i haven't felt like writing i thought i would wait until i did.

Lots has happened since the end of February. The girls have broke up from school for the summer yes, i have been working occasionally at the local estate agents, Paul has visited the UK more regularly for work, new places have been explored and we are absolutely loving our first full summer in Andalucia!! So, lets go back to March and having a long gap between visitors we thought best to get on with the ever expanding list of jobs. I painted the metal casita doors a rather fetching blue and Paul started on the door frames in the house. It was all going well until the next day Paul was taken ill with the worst stomach bug ever which resulted in him being stuck in bed for one week with two trips to the doctors and one to the hospital where they put him on a drip. It was hard going especially as one day into the illness work began outside to extend the patio. I hadn't anticipated having to co-ordinate the workers all by myself but it was fine and we muddled through the language barrier and the patio was finished the following week. This was also the time i started work at a local estate agency, a lovely family owned business who i had got to know through our children. I've always been interested in property and being able to pick up things quickly this fitted perfectly. It also made a nice change and good for me to know that i can easily get back into the working vibe and enjoy it. 

San Jose fiesta followed on Saturday, with a delicious free paella and beer for everyone, and a Bouncy castle and Bingo. Great to see so many people of all ages joining in on a beautiful sunny afternoon with more fabulous views.

Monday soon came and it was time for Olivia to go on her first residential trip with the School to Sierra Nevada ski-ing smiley what an amazing opportunity! She has never skied before but she made sure she had all the gear laugh It was a early start to meet the bus at 7am but the coach was prompt and soon enough i was waving them off. The trip was only a 1 night stay over but that was plenty long enough!!! We wasn't sure how she would get on with the over night and the ski-ing but we were thrilled that she loved it, and did not stop talking about it. Another expensive hobby but we will all return later on in the year and have a go ourselves. 

The reason we had the patio extended was to add a Pergola, at the end of this week it was erected and we were very happy with the results. This would give us much needed shade in the forthcoming summer months and a great entertaining area. 

We visited Torrox pueblo on the Sunday and we found it to be very authentic and full of pretty streets. The costa however was not our scene with many english bars and I must admit the weather did not help as it started to rain, it felt more like Great Yarmouth then Costa del Sol laugh

The following week was the much anticipated short visit from two of my school friends Lorraine and Lynn, the weather was poor, cloudy and showers but lots of fun was had (a little too much on the Saturday afternoon which resulted in me having to take myself to bed at 7.30pmsurprise) I did however escape the dreaded hangover which was especially good as we were celebrating Mothers Day the next day.

The girls and I chose a traditional Sunday roast and i'm so glad we did. We travelled to the nearby village of Benamargosa and searched the moorish village until we found the restaurant. A great find with a fantastic roast with all the trimmings and scrummy puddings. I can't tell you how welcomed it was after nearly a year without one. The girls enjoyed it to and we had lovely conversations while we ate. I will definitely return again just us three for Mothers Day.  

Another week went by and then it was Easter (our first in Spain) which meant our Niece and Nephew were due their first visit with their gorgeous sons Huxley and Orley.  I spent alot of time before this important week in Spain researching good places to go and see the procession etc. and it was clear Velez Malaga was a great place to go. We were not disappointed, it was incredible and to anyone who wants to see how Easter is done go and see for yourself. No chocolate eggs and no bunnies!! 

The weather was still a bit hit and miss but we all had a great time and got to spend one day on the Beach in Torre del Mar while the men went and played Golf. Paul loves to play golf but hadn't managed to play until now due to his neck injury. They had a choice of two courses but eventually decided on Anoreta. He was very impressed and the photos certainly proved how beautiful it was.  

Finally after a couple of weeks of dodgy weather the sun came out -yay- and we could even go in the pool! Mostly due to the fact Paul's parents were back, wherever they go they have nice weather. As they were here Paul and i treated ourselves to a weekend in Cordoba for our Wedding anniversary and we absolutely loved it. Having been to many cities in Spain this was up there for many reasons. It isn't too big but was jam packed full of fascinating places to see and the history is everywhere. We had the best time and will defintely return when we get another chance. 

Once home we had another Bank Holiday this time 'Labour Day' every 1st of May so off we went to the beach with Paul's parents and the girls for a day of pleasure. We chose Burriana beach as they had never been and like us they loved it. A great way to end there latest visit. 

Next was our promised trip to the UK for the girls, to be honest i was dreading it but wanted the girls to catch up with their friends. It was only a short trip Friday to Sunday and i must say i actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a million things to do such a tight busy schedule to fit everyone in thankfully it ran like clock work but still very tiring. 






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Saying goodbye
28 March 2019

After spending the winter renting in Spain, it was time to say goodbye to my Mum and Rob, but gladly they had decided to return again for the winter this year and for longer! smiley To say our farewells we arranged to meet in Algarobbo Costa for a meal but when we arrived alot of the restaurants were shut. We found one offering Menu Del Dia and it fulfilled our appetite while the sun blazed down on us. After the meal we walked along the beach front when all of a sudden we could hear some very loud music being played so we kept on walking to find out where it was coming from. Our search lead us to the Port of Caleta de Velez where we found a large crowd of people getting down to the sounds of the Beatles, we were stunned! We stayed a while and watched on as they danced the afternoon away it was thoroughly entertaining laugh

The next day Paul caught a flight back to the UK for some very important business meetings, alot rided on them. It was the first time we had been without him since moving over and after 3 long nights we were all super excited to see him. Luckily his parents had a similar flight which arrived shortly before Paul's so they all arrived together. Paul was very pleased with the way the meetings went and felt certain it could be a success. 

Chloe's birthday followed on the Sunday and she wanted to go to Torre Del Mar and hire the electric Go-karts, on a beautiful morning, this is what we did. I hadn't expected to have a go but they were alot of fun. We followed this with a lovely meal at El Charco again for a lip smacking steak, great food and staggering views of La Maroma (with snow on the top!!) and Lake Vinuela.

February is Carnival month in Andalucia, the school had some strange ideas for costumes which i'm still not sure about. Chloe a carrot and Olivia a fish.....  Luckily Maria they're wonderful Spanish teacher helped us get the costumes started. I'll let you be the judge of them. The school had a parade on the 20th and the village had a fiesta the following Saturday evening, which involved another procession and a animation show in the Town Hall for the little ones. It was so nice to see everyone taking part from little babies to the very senior.

(apologises for them not being portrait again!)

Before moving to Spain we had been warned (and terrified) of the Processionary Caterpillar and being right on the edge of the National Park full of Pine trees we knew it was somethign we would have to contend with. Once we spotted a nest that was it we agreed no more walking Ted through the park until we were certain they had gone. After a couple of weeks and having noticed tens of nests down by the Lake and getting really fed up of the same boring walks I thought i would check out the trees on our normal walk, I could only find two and keeping Ted on the lead for the majority i feel we are safe. I have no idea why we only have 2 nests but Ted and i are very happy that we can return to walking our beautiful walk daily.

Down on the coast in Torre del Mar they have the most wonderful promenade where you can walk for miles along the coast, having watched many others do this when visiting with the girls we decided to go on our own while they're at school with Ted and try it out for ourselves. We set off in a easterly direction on a beautiful, bright morning and strolled all the way along to Caleta de Velez. We did have to stop a couple of times for Ted so he could lay down in the shade, it wasn't particulary hot but staffies do not cope well with the heat mainly due to their short hair. Once at Caleta we stopped at the port for a quick drink before heading back to Torre stopping for delicious Tapa on the way. It ended up being a good 4 miles walk and my legs were starting to ache. The promenade was starting to fill up as we left.

The school hols followed and the girls were thrilled to have a break, not just from school but from the large amount of homework they have everyday. On the first day we decided to take them to the caves at Rincon, no not Nerja, Rincon, yes they may not be the same as the famous Nerja caves but we enjoyed it just the same and to be honest the girls seemed more interested in these than at Nerja. When we arrived we found alot of people waiting outside and the gates locked. After 10 minutes or so the police pulled up with some council workers and it emerged that whoever was supposed to open up didn't have the keys. So they then proceeded to cut the lock with bolt cutters and break the lock! Once inside the gate they couldn't get into the office either so they then got a angle grinder and broke there way into the office too!! Honestly only in Spain!! laugh 

We had great weather for the school holidays and we made the most of it including a trip to the playa at Torre del Mar.

Andalucia Day was part of the holiday week and the local restaurant had asked me to work behind the bar again and i agreed this turned out to be a very bad decision. Firstly i hadn't realised what Andalucia day entailed here and second reason it was a boiling hot day which meant everybody came out to party so of course that meant that the restaurant was inundated with people so i literally didn't stop for 6 and half hours straight. Worst of all Andalucia day here is all about horses - my favourite thing in the whole world!! There i was stuck in a bar with a tiny window which if i stood on my tip toes i could see maybe a tail of a horse or a hat of a rider angry Never again will i work at the restaurant, it was bad enough being crazy busy but when you don't understand all the language (especially the growly Andaluz that is spoken here) it gets very frustrating for me and the Spanish.

On the Friday we had our dreaded Residencia Appointment at the police station it was something we knew we needed to get done especially with Brexit looming and were keeping everything crossed that it would go through with no issues. We did pay for help getting all the paperwork correct and present and we had their assistance at the meeting but still we were not counting our chickens. Amazingly after many hours wondering if we would be granted residency it was all complete within a few minutes and they were also able to get the girls there's too without a seperate appointment. It was the best possible outcome we could now relax a bit knowing we were now legal residents. Happy, happy people.



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New Year
21 February 2019

Our local restaurant had asked me back in December if i could work New years Eve, it was a set menu so no need to take orders, having thought about it for a couple of weeks i agreed -once of course we confirmed the pay and hours needed. On New Years Eve the sun shone again and we leisured around the pool. This was soon interupted when the phone rang it was the bar asking if i could come now as they are behind with the prep! I like to help when i can so off i went. After a quick skip down the hill I arrived and was suprised to find a packed bar full of thristy and very noisy young men. This is not what i had expected. I had expected to prepare for the busy evening ahead, we even had a birthday party turn up and gladly they obliged food and drinks. I suppose they didn't want to turn away any business. Anyway, I tried to help behind the bar but with very little training you could say i was definitely thrown in the deep end. After a couple of hours I stressed that i must go home and change for the evening. I returned at 6.45 ready for the first arrivals, the bar was much quieter now and so enabled us to clean up ready for the night ahead. The evening went well and was actually much easier than the afternoon. Paul and the girls came along at 9pm and managed to stay to see the new year in and for the first time we did the 12 grapes and had a dance. I managed to escape just gone 1.30am but the bar was still busy.  Walking home through the village it was clear from the booming bass coming from houses and other bars these night owls were far from done celebrating.  After a long lay in I woke to find a message from the bar asking if i could come to work again! I managed to get there at 2pm and it was just as busy as the night before but no one had pre ordered and my lack of Spanish was a serious downfall as it was full of Spanish today. I found the day harder than New Years Eve but it was nice that Hildi and Manolo offered us all a meal after on them. We left at 6pm fed and watered and for me ready for bed!

On the last day of the Christmas school holidays we went to my Mums in Chilches for the day at the coast it was a much needed day of relaxation with a lovely home cooked meal. 

The 6th of Jan was the Festival of the 3 kings in the day we (for the first time) we all walked along the Zafarraya pass, the views were spectacular and the almond trees are just starting to blossom. It was another lovely bright sunny day so we decided to have a BBQ in the afternoon. In the village the 3 Kings go on a trailer around the village and all the surrounding areas and when it finally returns at night they give presents and thousands of sweets to kids -we still have the bagful of sweets in the cupboard today. We were cautioned to take a carrier bag with us as there are aot of sweets and a tin hat as it can be painful! They were right on both subjects!! The Monday was another bank holiday which was a nice surprise.

The 10th of Jan soon rolled around which meant it was my birthday laugh my Mum and Rob drove over and we went for Tapa in the village and on the Saturday night they returned again and we all went to Venta El Charco a Steak restaurant with the most amazing view of La Maroma and Lake Vinuela it had been recommended to us by Pepe the pool man when we arrived. We had a fantastic meal, one of the best steaks I've ever had washed down by a lovely glass of the house Rioja. wink

The following day we once again went up to the Zafarraya pass it is called the pass as when you go through it you are in the Granada province not Malaga. We decided to walk a different route today and gladly we had prepared a picnic which of course we ate almost as soon as we got there laugh we sat on the edge devouring our sandwiches with the most beautiful view on a very hot day. 

After a 6 week gap we needed to make the long drive to stock up on Ted's food, so with Chloe's birthday looming I thought we'd squeeze in a trip to Primark in the shopping centre at Fuengirola. It was a bit tight on time as girls are only at school for 5 hours but we just managed it. The shopping centre was nice but the surrounding area was certainly an eye opener! 

One of the things which is a constant problem is completing the paperwork to get everything legal here. The school have been asking for our Padron from the Town Hall but we cannot get this unless our girls have NIEs. We finally got a appointment at the local police station and went along with the girls only to be told that they need to see the girls Birth Certificates and they need them to have a Apostille and be translated!! I was soooo disapointed after waiting for this appointment and taking the girls out of school to be told we didn't have the right documents, I could have screamed! The lady did not understand my frustration and said its not a problem just get it done and come back. Easy for her to say she doesn't reliase how much it took just to get to this point. One word of advice for anyone else bringing children to Spain before you leave get their birth certificates a Apostille it will save you alot of time! The saga continues...

The weekend was much more joyful, the girls went to my Mum's for the weekend (their first time) Paul and I had a fantastic time, we enjoyed a variety of food and drink and the general slower pace where nobody was wanting anything of me. The girls equally had a briliant time and didn't have time to miss us.

We had another Fiesta in the village on Sunday 'San Sebastian' so of course the girls had another day off School on the Monday no complaints there! 


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Our first Christmas in Spain
25 January 2019

Sorry for the long delay in blogs, i decided to have December off. So we go back to the end of November now.

The following week started with the most hurrendous gusts of wind hitting the village, it was pretty scary walking down the stairs in the morning to find the front door lock had been broken because of it!  This wasn't the only damage the inner courtyard roof had been broken and blown off! Out in the garden the wire fence had also been damaged by it and causing the concrete base to crack. Walking to school that morning was also a challenge i wouldn't want to repeat. Anyway, it gave us the get up and go to fix the door and give it a much needed makeover. We managed to find the same lock to replace it easily and then as it's the house's original wooden door we gave it a lick of paint and it looks so much better. While I was at it I also did the window frames too a huge improvement to the front of the house, now we just need to paint the front of the house as i don't want to let the street down..... Luckily the wind only lasted for one day apparently it can last alot longer here, the following day was like a Spring day lovely warm day with lots of sunshine. After getting all of our jobs done we treated ourselves to a walk up the mountain, with 'up' being the operative word. We really wanted to find the best walks from our village rather than driving to another village. We think we have found a goody even though i was absolutely shattered!! The weather was perfect and for all of the 453m climb we were in the shade. The flora and fauna was abundant and the path mostly untouched. 

On the Friday evening we went to the first Malaga Christmas light switch on of 2018, we were all amazed and stunned by the beauty and great atmosphere. It reminded us alot of Disneyland, once the show was finished we found a little gem of a Tapa bar with delicious culinary delights. 

We were back in Malaga the week after to collect Paul's parents from the airport, as it was a bank holiday and a sunny day here we thought we would go to the beach beforehand, not the best idea we have had as it was so busy and parking was a nightmare, we had about an hour on the beach before Derek and Joy were calling us to say they we collecting their cases. We now know not to do that again. 

Paul's parents were here to celebrate Olivia's 11th birthday with us, the actual birthday itself was quite a sad one for me with it really hitting home that all her friends were not here and doubt started to set in my mind. Her friends sent cards and lovely messages via social media which made me and Olivia weep. Luckily after school it was great weather so we (my mum and Rob, Derek and Joy, Chloe, Flor -Olivia's friend and us) went down to the coast and went Go-Karting smiley when we got there of course the adults wanted to have a go too. Myself, Rob and Paul attempted it after the children's turn, for me it was quite tricky especially as i struggled to reach the pedals!! It was really difficult to turn the steering wheel too I enjoyed it though not as much as the men who of course got really competitive and ended up crashing half way through surprise this did not do Pauls' neck any good and he spent the rest of the evening not being able to turn his neck fully. We ended the evening at a great Pizza place and we did the birthday cake and sang. After a sad start to the day it finished with us all on a high.

As we got closer to Christmas we had the last three days of school taken up with various performances by the girls classes, breakfast at school, Carols and the three wise men. It was nice to go in and be involved even though we didn't understand it! 

For Christmas Day we decided to stay at home and cook. My Mum and Rob would join us for two days from the coast. Being boring and typical English we wanted a Turkey so i thought i'll support the local village shop and ordered the bird in Spanish well in advance. The lovely shop owner told me to collect on the Sunday before Christmas. So on that Sunday off I went to collect it albeit apprehensively. When i asked for the Turkey she looked confused, once the penny dropped she said come back tomorrow. A worryingly twenty four hours later we collected a fantastic Turkey exactly what we asked for and very reasonably priced. Now i could relax and enjoy the festivities. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and even ate our delicious meal outside. We all had a really lovely first Christmas in Spain.

The following week we had the dreaded task of taking the car for its ITV inspection (same as a MOT in UK) we booked the appointment several weeks before online and felt fairly confident we had done this sucessfully. With the girls being off school we all went to the ITV appointment which is nothing like the UK you have centres dotted around Spain where you go and the cars go through a series of checks on a conveyor belt like system. When we arrived we checked in for our appointment and waited but once we were called over to the desk we discovered that Toyota hadn't given us the registration document for the car and without this they cannot carry out the inspection. Angry and frustrated we called the Salesman at Toyota and he calmly said 'oh yes you need that document, it might be at the office'! He did not get why we were fussing, we drove straight to Toyota and waited for him to return from lunch. He did have the document and sadly the saga worsened the actual date the ITV ran out was October not December which was what was stated on our paperwork!! In light of this news we told them how unhappy we were and that we wanted a courtesy car until the ITV was updated and the car was legal to drive. Thankfully they agreed straight away and that stress was taken off us.

One of the things we continue to love is the generosity of the people and the fantastic local fresh produce. In the field next door to our garden they grow various fruit including oranges, the lovely Antonio maintains it and regulary throws fruit over the fence to us. This time he asked Paul to go round (a bit more civilised) and collect a crate full of oranges which are used for juicing. Chloe loved squashing and squeezing the fruit to create a lovely orange juice for us all.

New Years Eve was soon upon us and one of our local restaurants had asked me to help out for the evening. They promised me it wouldn't be too bad as they were doing a set menu which they had pre ordered and they had wine on the table so for me being behind the bar it should be ok. I agreed to work the only thing worrying me was the language barrier. Luckily on the night the clientel were 50% English and 50% Spanish and like they said most of the orders came through the owner and she speaks very good English. I enjoyed the night and Paul and the girls came along to see in the New Year with me and have a dance at the disco. And of course we all had fun trying to cram twelve very big grapes into our mouths at midnight!



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Best foot forward
06 December 2018

Now that we have some time to ourselves Paul and I are now focusing on finding the best walks locally and trying to create a buisness from the area we now live in.  We thought we would try the walk from Canillas de Aceituno, now i am not the best with steep windy roads and the road to Canillas was never ending! It was definitely worth the funny tummy the views are outstanding. Once we eventually found a parking space, us two and Ted climbed out and found the start of the walk. We are using a App to help us find the walks. As we have found with all the walks locally they all involve alot of steep starts, this one was steep and with many steps. The sun was out but not too hot, around 18 degrees so perfect for walking, we took a picnic and we were gifted stunning views all the way to the coast from the top. We didn't have time to do the full route as we had to make our way back to collect the girls and of course have a refreshment in the village before leaving.

In the middle of this week Paul's friend was playing golf at Benalmadena with work and invited him to go along and play. Unfortunately his neck was still playing up he couldn't, it didn't stop him going along for a night out though... It was a good opportunity for them to catch up and have a few drinks. 

Another lovely weekend weather wise and we went down to Chilches to see my Mum and Rob and played on the beach. We bought a kite with us which we have had for several years in the UK but never used. After many attempts at getting it to fly we eventually realised that we just needed to hold it into the wind and it would soar. smiley  

The following week was wet, wet, wet, getting the washing dry was a nightmare sad  and lots of tv was watched. A usual week played out with the food shopping and Spanish lessons. Friday soon came and my Sister returned, this time just with her husband Jon it was great to see them and they even bought the sunshine with them! We had lots of laughs, had so much to talk about and as it was Jon's first time we showed him the sights. Nerja was number one choice for the beach and it was a lovely warm day. Lots of other people had the same idea and it was a squeeze on the beach. Lunch was some monster baguettes from the shop at the top of the steps and a dip in the freezing sea followed! That evening we tried a restaurant we had never been to before just a short drive from our house. We were pleasantly suprised and Simone and Jon had the special - Tomahawk steak from the north to share, it was a monster and to be honest could have fed four people. We all had a delicious meal and with full bellies vowed to return again soon. On Sunday we met my Mum and Rob on the beach on Sunday at Torre del Mar and had another great meal over looking the sea in the sunshine a lovely way to end our fun time with my sister.




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Best view in Axarquia
29 November 2018

Halloween in Spain is a big thing, i wan't sure if they celebrated it but boy oh boy they do! The school had a parade around the village and sang a 'english' halloween song that none of us had ever heard of! laughThe teachers and staff also dressed up.

We went to a Halloween party at a local bar they put on lots of games for the kids it was a good night followed by four days off school for National holiday. We of course went to the beach on the Friday this time we chose Playa Torrecilla in Nerja a lovely bay with some equally nice bars dotted along. 

On the Saturday it was Fiesta Castana - the festival of the Chestnuts, the school children were invited to the National Park to plant some Chestnut trees and they couldn't of picked a nicer day. Gorgeous blue skies, an abundance of warm sunshine and the area was bursting with happy campers. Luckily for the children they had already dug the holes with a digger or we may still be there now. They merely had to fill the holes in and smile for the TV camera. It was quite funny as the TV guy kept trying to interview Olivia and she didn't want to be so spent most of her time hiding from him!! 

Later that day the village came alive with all kinds of stalls, sweet, craft, gifts and Churros. From our house you would have no idea that all this was going on but once we turned the corner by the Town Hall it was packed full of people. We were stunned, they were all queing up for free Chestnuts and baked sweet potato. I like a freebie as much as the next person but i certainly wasn't going to que up especially when they hadn't even started serving yet. We decided to get some tapa and a beer instead, a good choice as we bumped into a English couple who we had started to get to know. Most of the English here are of a certain age so to find a couple of a closer age is so nice. The evening ended up being a bit of bar crawl and everyone seemed to be up for a good night. The entertainment once again didn't start till 10 and by then everyone was a little merry and lots of dancing went on long into the night.

At the school they always seem to be doing some different and on Friday Olivia and her class had a running race around nearby Periana village. Again not entirely sure what it was we went along for our first visit to Periana, we had read previously that it had the best view in Axarquia and i must agree. From the square you can see all the way down to the sea with lake Vinuela just before, a real treat.

The race itself had plenty of participants with many other schools joining in, the many hills made it quite a challenge.  Paul and i decided to have a look around and stumbled across a Olive Oil factory. We are pleased we bought a bottle of Extra Virgen and it tastes amazing great flavour.  

*Sorry for the incorrect orientation of the photos, i don't know why this is doing this again?!!! crying

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A bump in the road
22 November 2018

After a few days to ourselves, Chloe (our youngest) went on her first school trip to Velez Malaga to watch a musical -The Little Prince which she said was boring... even though it was in English and Spanish. frown Later on in the week our friends from the UK came to pay us a visit for the day as they were staying in Marbella. Having holidayed their many times they would now like to explore the area more so hired a car and in the pouring rain they made their way up. They somehow managed to find themselves slap bang in the middle of the Saturday market laugh not the best place to be as trying to turn the car around in the village is nigh on impossible. After many stares from the locals they arrived. We had a fantastic afternoon catching up, eating far too much at Meson El Ciervo and once the sun came out in the afternoon we were all sweltering once more.

The next day my sister Simone and her two girls Isabelle (15) and Sophie (12) arrived at my mum's as it was half term back in the UK we met up at Torre Del Mar for a day at the beach, it was soo good to see them, we had all missed them lots. We had so much fun on the beach and found the best paella since being in Spain (we'll definitely be returning).

There was a triathalon going on along the promenade and every so often we would cheer the poor souls on.  I think my sister approved of the move and enjoyed her stay. She especially liked Nerja and will be returning regularly to see us, in fact she has already booked her next flight a month later. She got a great deal for her and her husband Jon, flight, speedy boarding, car hire and car parking at the airport for under 100 euro yes 

Shortly after the guests left Paul woke up in agony and couldn't turn his head! Not sure what to do we decided to try the local physio who had been highly recommended. After carefully putting him in the car and slowly driving down the mountain to the next village we made it. It was a nightmare getting him in and out the car and into the centre. Poor Amanda - the physio had no idea we were going to burst into her centre and hope she could fix the problem. Luckily she did agree to see him quickly between appointments, sadly as soon as she tried to move his neck he passed out. She therefore had no choice but to send us to the doctors asap worried that she may do more bad than good. She was so helpful and wrote down in Spanish what the problem was for me to give to the doctor. It was a absolute nightmare we hadn't even been to the doctor's surgery before and had no idea where to find it!! crying  Paul had never had a problem like this before and to see him like this was scary.  We shuffled him back into the car and to another town to the surgery. The doctor's were friendly and helpful and concluded that he had Torticollis which is a where the muscle's in the neck contract. After passing out again in the doctors and me catching him! they laid him down and gave him strong pain killers injected straight into his backside. I then had to leave him there while I collected the girls from school, so i raced up the mountain grabbed the girls, fed the dog and raced back to Paul not sure what i would find.  He did actually look a little better, we went home and were told to come back if not better. Two days later it was no better so we did return and they sent us down to the Hospital for a scan. Not ideal as it was a Saturday and the girls are not allowed into the waiting room of the Hospital so we had to call my mum and ask her to collect the girls so i could sit with Paul. My mum was on a long walk to Rincon so by the time she collected the girls she was only home an hour before we left the hospital! The doctors were convinced it was Torticollis so a scan was not necessary and sent us away with another prescription hoping this time the drugs would help.

All of this was not good timing as it was Paul had his birthday coming up on the Monday! We did manage to get out for a meal but in hindsight we probably should have waited as Paul was still in pain. The food at Tanit Beach bar was great though and lived up to its reputation.

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