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We're always working really hard to bring you new and exciting features to Eye on Spain. We also make plenty of mistakes so we want to use this blog to keep you up to date with what's new (and what's wrong) with EOS.

Siesta Show Webisode 30 - A chat about expat issues in Spain
27 February 2009

Myra and JustingFor today's Siesta Show, Myra from Costa Advice Bureau, talks about what they do and the problems that expats face in Spain, such as healthcare, driving, benefits, residency, importing a car, etc.  We also discuss the problem faced by expat pensioners in Spain today.  Is it really as bad as people say?

Watch the expats in Spain webisode >>



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HELP! How do I use the new Eye on Spain website?
26 February 2009

If you're having a few problems working your way around the new Eye on Spain website then watch the video below.  It should help to answer any questions that you may have.

You will need to click the play button to start it:



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Siesta Show Webisode 29 - We chat with an honest estate agent
26 February 2009

Spanish estate agentFor today's Siesta Show we met up with Andrew Hamilton of Hamilton Homes, a rare honest estate agent in Spain.  We discuss how the Spanish property market has changed over the past few years, the difficulties there are now in getting a mortgage, the continuing fall in property prices and much more.  A very interesting interview today.

Watch today's real estate in Spain show >>



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The new website is live
25 February 2009

As you will have noticed the new wesite is now up and running.  Please bear with us for the next few hours whilst we sort out all the errors that are appearing!

For those of you who use the community/ off plan forums, you can now find links to your saved messages boards under the "Community" tab in the forum.

You will also find links to the development photos there too.  You need to be logged in to see the photos and the links to your development forums.

The new website is a massive change behind the scenes and will enable us now to add all the new features that we have planned over the coming weeks.

I hope you enjoy the new site and just leave a comment on this blog if you are having any specific problems with it.

Justin



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Siesta Show Webisode 27 - Come and dance some flamenco with us
24 February 2009

Flamenco lessonFor today's Siesta Show we join a local flamenco dance lesson to see what it's all about and find out what the difference is between flamenco and Sevillanas.

Came and dance some flamenco today >>



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New site coming tomorrow
24 February 2009

Just thought I'd let you know that we are uploading the new website for Eye on Spain tomorrow afternoon.  It is quite similar in it's structure but certain things have changed.  But we'll let you know all about it tomorrow....

Justin



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Siesta Show Webisode 26 - Susan buys some fruit and veg from the local market
23 February 2009

Susan buying fruit and veg in SpainFor today's Siesta Show Susan goes to the local market to buy some fruit and veg.  This is a great opportunity to learn some Spanish words as Susan tells us what the different foods are called in Spanish and how to ask for them.

Watch the Spanish fruit and veg webisode >>



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Siesta Show Webisode 25 - Eat cheap in Spain with the menu del dia
20 February 2009

Menu del diaNot a lot of expats know this but every restautant/ bar in Spain offers what is known as the "menu del dia" which is a cheap three course lunch, normally including a drink, for quite a low price.

Watch our menu del dia video



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Volunteers needed to help children's charity in Malaga
19 February 2009

 LIVE, the ex pat charity supporting the children’s home in Malaga, is looking for volunteer drivers and helpers. 

 
Since its inception in 2004, LIVE – Los Internacionales viven in España – has raised funds, organised Christmas parties and presents, collected jumble and treated the children from the home to fun days out. But with only five committee members and an increasing profile the LIVE team need help to carry on their work for the Home.  
Situated on the outskirts of Malaga and flanked by shanty towns, La Ciudad de Los Niños is home to children taken into care and also a haven for the street children of the nearby “chabolas” – shanty towns.   
 
“I’m delighted that so many people want to support our cause and the response in recent weeks has been overwhelming, and that’s why we need more help.  We’re getting calls every day from people wanting to donate items to the Home, which is wonderful but it’s getting to the stage when we’re struggling to keep up with demand.
 
That’s why I’m hoping to find supporters willing to do collections and deliveries to the Home and generally help out when we get to overload.   
 
We’re looking for people with cars willing to give a couple of hours each month to help us.  It may be there are business people who do a regular run to suppliers in Malaga driving in with an empty vehicle who could make a short detour to the Home to deliver items we’ve collected for them.  We would love to hear from people up and down the region who would be prepared to act as co-ordinators for items donated. It would only involve a couple of hours each month and the personal achievement by helping the Home is hugely rewarding.” 
 
If you would like to help the Malaga Children’s Home please contact Brian Marsh  620 791 441 on Your call will be much appreciated. 


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Siesta Show Webisode 24 - Justin gets attacked by bulldog
19 February 2009

In today's Siesta Show Susan talks with Colette about bringing up her dog in Spain. She talks about pet passports and the importance of keeping dogs out of the sun. Her bulldog, Achilles, is also very good on the skateboard. All of this whilst Justin fends off Achilles as he's very camera shy!

Watch the mauling eposide



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Siesta Show Webisode 23 - Part 2 of our cheese factory visit
18 February 2009

Juan in the cheese factoryThe Siesta Show today is the second part of our visit to the cheese factory in Casares with Juan Ocaña showing us the cheese making process.  We get to see the milk turning into cheese and Susan then tries to find Juan a girlfriend!  Interested?

Watch part 2 of our cheese factory tour



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Siesta Show Webisode 22 - Juan shows us how to make goats cheese
17 February 2009

 

Making goats cheeseFor today's Siesta show we visit a local cheese factory!  Juan Ocaña who, the son of the owner of the farm and the factory, shows us through the entire process from start to finish.  We begin with the milking of the goats and then follow the milk into the cheese factory as it goes through its difference processes.

Juan is great to listen to as he tells us what it was like for his family going back to his grandfather when he used to do it.  A great opportunity for you to pick up some Spanish too!  And you won't be able to resist laughing when you see the Justin wearing a plastic cap!

Watch the goats cheese webisode >>



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Siesta Show Webisode 21 - Antonio continues his brilliant tour of Estepona
16 February 2009

For today's show, Antonio continues his tour of Estepona and looks back over the past 50 years to tell us how life has changed in his part of Spain.  He also tells us how their diet has changed, what the "siesta" is all about and what the Spanish do at the beach in the summer.

Watch the second Estepona video



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Siesta Show Webisode 20 - See how they celebrate Valentines Day in Spain
13 February 2009

For today's show we went out and about to chat with people about Valentines Day in Spain, how they celebrate it and what they buy for their partners. 

Watch the Valentines Day in Spain webisode

See you on Monday again.



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Siesta Show Webisode 19 - We go for a tour of Estepona
12 February 2009

Antonio Rodriguez from Costa Advice Bureau takes us for a tour of his town, Estepona.  Antonio is a wonderful guest and he's got so much information to share.

Watch the Estepona video



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Expats seek home help in hard times
11 February 2009

 Emigrating to Spain might help you escape the snow, wind and rain, but not the recession.

So the UK Government has despatched a minister to the Costas and is setting up advice surgeries in areas when Brits Abroad congregate.

The aim is to help struggling expats caught out by the tumbling Spanish economy, tumbling property prices and the tumbling pound.

"The value of sterling compounded by the situation in the Spanish economy means that people are feeling the pinch," Foreign Office Minister and Lincoln MP Gillian Merron admitted.

The Costa del Sol, once dubbed the 'Costa Notta Lotta,' could perhaps now be nicknamed the Costa Fortune.

Driven in the good times by a construction boom that has now gone bust and by British spending power that has now gone down, half finished apartment blocks stand as a reminder of how steep the economic downturn is here.

"Not even the buses are as full as they used to be," Pam Champ, 65, from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire said.

She and her husband Trevor, 64, and another couple, Mike and Ann Devonshire, are here together on holiday.

 

The Cosy Nook
Businesses in Torremolinos are described as "struggling like hell"

They visit the resort every February and have been coming here for 22 years.

"There used to use bendy buses but they don't need them now," Mrs Devonshire, 70, added. "Smaller ones have enough space."

At more than 14 percent, the Spanish unemployment rate is by far the highest in the European Union, added to which is the sterling-euro exchange rate.

Some British expats and tourists have been paying almost one pound per euro - a slump in sterling's value of around a third in a year.

Dave Walton, 68, from Morecambe in Lancashire, might have looked at ease sipping his lunchtime coffee in the Cosy Nook on the seafront, but he was all too aware of the changes brought about by recession.

"I've been coming to Torremolinos since 1980," he said.

"But since then, prices have gone up six fold. We're here for three months of the year - but next year it'll be a month max."

'Tea to share'

The seaside cafe does a brisk lunchtime trade. English breakfasts and that day's special, homemade cauliflower and broccoli bake, prove particularly popular.

Paul Wills, 50, who runs the Nook, said: "I pride myself on having very good return trade.

"We need it. A lot of businesses here are struggling like hell. We have got to offer value for money.

"Even with our prices one couple the other day asked for a cream tea to share!"

 

Gillian Merron
 You buy a dream but we all know that dreams are underpinned by realities 
Gillian Merron

Holidaymakers might be losing their luxuries, but expats are losing their livelihoods.

Businesses are faltering and those reliant on UK-based pensions have seen their retirement pot shrink.

Charities say there is even an increased demand for food parcels for elderly Brits in Spain.

Jean Smith, 83, moved to the Costa del Sol 26 years ago. She lives in Torreblanca and is struggling.

"We have just had a 15 percent increase in electricity prices. I have to be very careful," she said.

"Our houses are cold. We haven't got central heating. Most of us have only got heating in one room.

"So you have got a warm sitting room, but you go out to a cold kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. And I mean cold.

"I sit with a blanket, I don't put my heating on until 5 o'clock in the evening at the earliest. I can't afford it."

Expats believe that as they paid their taxes when they lived and worked in the UK they should be treated the same as British pensioners back home.

But others argue those who give up Britain should realise they are giving up their benefit rights too.

'No guarantee'

The government has to find a middle ground, so while housing benefit is not available to expats, some are entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment - despite the fact it is 20 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.

Pensioners who collected it before they left can continue to claim when they are here, but it won't go up as it does as people get older in the UK, and those who moved here before they were 60 don't get it at all.

"What we have never guaranteed and can't guarantee is that if people choose to move to another country that everything will be exactly the same. We can't make that guarantee," the minister, Gillian Merron, says.

"You buy a dream but we all know that dreams are underpinned by realities.

"You also need to think, 'life happens, I may get ill, I may lose my mobility, my partner might die, how will it be for me in Spain?' Because it is not the same country as the UK."

Source BBC



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Siesta Show webisode 18 - Our guest today tells us all about international schools in Spain
11 February 2009

Today's guest, Dana, chats about international schools in Spain, including what they are like, who they are for and what they do there.  A great insight into this subject for anyone looking to move to spain with kids.

View the show here



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Siesta Show webisode 17 - We messed up a little today
10 February 2009

We got it a bit wrong today....

Find out why



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Med diets 'boost brain and heart'
10 February 2009

Mediterranean diets may be good for the brain as well as the heart, research has shown.

New evidence suggests eating the way people do in southern France, Italy, Spain and Greece, can help prevent age-related mental decline. It also appears to reduce the risk of shifting from mild mental impairment to Alzheimer's disease.

The typical Mediterranean diet involves eating a lot of fish, vegetables, fruit, cereal and unsaturated fats such as olive oil, while drinking moderate amounts of alcohol and consuming small quantities of meat and dairy products.

Previous research has linked the diet with healthy hearts and arteries, and living a long life.

Scientists led by Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York looked at the diets of 1,393 healthy individuals and 482 patients with mild cognitive impairment. Participants were examined and asked to answer questions about their food consumption.

High, middle and low scores were given to the volunteers according to the degree to which they followed a Mediterranean diet. Compared with those in the bottom bracket, high scorers were 28% less likely to suffer mild cognitive impairment while middle-range scorers had a 17% reduced risk.

Over a period of four-and-a-half years, 275 of the volunteers who originally had no symptoms of mental decline went on to develop them. Among the 482 who started out with mild cognitive impairment, 106 progressed to Alzheimer's disease.

High consumption of a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 48% reduced risk of making the transition to Alzheimer's for this group. Middle-range consumers were 45% less likely to develop the disease than people with low consumption scores.

Reporting their findings in the journal Archives of Neurology, the scientists wrote: "Among behavioural traits, diet may play an important role in the cause and prevention of Alzheimer's disease."

The Mediterranean diet may exert its beneficial effects by improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation, experts believe. Individual food components of the diet may also influence brain health.

Source Google



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Siesta Show Webisode 16 - We go for a tour of Malaga city
09 February 2009

Yesterday we took a tour of Malaga for the Siesta Show.  It's a fascinating city with much history and culture, espeically as it was the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.

Watch today's Siesta show on Malaga city >>



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Siesta Show Webisode 15 - Join us on a tour of Manilva, the home of Eye on Spain
06 February 2009

Today we decided to show you where we're based.  Eye on Spain is based in the village of Manilva on the Costa del Sol.  Join us as we show you around the village and some of the places we go to for breakfast and lunch.  We also look at some of the facilities here.

Follow us around Manilva >>



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Siesta Show Webisode 14 - Part 2 of our day with expats helping abandoned dogs in Spain
05 February 2009

Today's show follows on from yesterday's as we chat to the expat volunteers who run the Adana animal rescue centre in Estepona.  Today Janet tells us about their plans going forward and the hope that there will never be a need for them in the future.  Let's hope so.

Watch part 2



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Siesta Show Webisode 13 - We visit the Adana dog rescue charity
04 February 2009

This morning we visited the dog rescue charity Adana in Estepona.  We chatted to the people helping out there and looked around their facilities.  We were really touched by the work that the volunteers do there looking after 150 dogs that they have rescued.  Please watch the video and find our more about the great work done by the people at Adana.

Watch the Adana video

If you are interested in helping Adana out, either as a volunteer or financially, please take a look at their website for more informaiton.  www.adana.es



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Siesta Show Webisode 12 - Join us to find out which Spanish supermarket is the cheapest
03 February 2009

In today's show we visit 5 different supermarkets in Spain to buy some essentials. We then compare the prices to see which supermarket offers the best value. However, cheapest isn't always the best!  Join us on our shopping trip.

Watch the price comparison episode



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Siesta Show Webisode 11 - Justin talks about selling and buying property in Spain
02 February 2009

Today's Siesta Show takes on a (slightly) more serious note.  Justin talks about some of the bargains available for those looking to buy a property in Spain and also talks about how the currect GBP/ EUR exchange rate can benefit those looking to sell their property in Spain.

Watch the property in Spain webisode >>



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