Hanging On By My Fingernails

Aug 31, 2011

Today is the 31 August,and for many it marks the end of summer. Many of my fellow bloggers are already reviewing the Autumn fashions and preparing for the the next season

Most Spanish return to work tomorrow. There are a lot of sad looking faces around I can assure you.

It's still very hot here (my air-conditioning is blasting in the background as I type this post) so it's still really difficult for me to think about Autumn. So I am hanging on to the last vestiges of summer by my fingernails

For my final summer post I would like to ask:

* What did summer 2011 mean for you?
* What will you remember most (good or bad) about this summer?

For me, I used this summer to make "another" life-changing decision. I'm really excited but also terrified (more about this decision in my first post in September).
What about you?

Where's Your Bolt-hole?

Aug 28, 2011

When I had to cancel my summer hols to the UK this month (due to anarchy over there) I had to come up with a quick solution.

This is the place Hubs and I always run too when we need a quick fix - La Residencia in Mallorca - www.hotel-laresidencia.com

Within minutes we feel completely chilled and miles away from the madding crowds, as you are completely surrounded by mountains .

(It's also the place Princess Diana often used as her bolt-hole when she need to escape The Establishment!)

I lived in Mallorca for some time, and this place became my weekly treat; sometimes it was just to have a cool drink and watch the sunset, or to have my Saturday morning tennis lessons (which were always a disaster as my mind was always on what I would do after in the hotel ;-). Now it's no longer on my door-step I really appreciate it more. When I lived in Mallorca it was owned by Sir Richard Branson, but now owned by Orient Express Hotels.Thankfully, it's maintained all it's charm.

What's your favorite bolt-hole? It can be on your door-step, or some far and distant land. Where ever it is I would love to add it to my ever-growing list of "places-to-see-before-I-die!"

The Best Summer Shoes or Not?

Aug 24, 2011

I know many of you fashionistas who follow this blog are going to gasp in horror,choke on your tea or just keel over in disgust when I tell you that my favorite summer shoe used to be (notice the past tense here) my boat shoes.

Image courtesy of Joanna Goddard

When I first came to Spain, I lived in my boat shoes for running errands, jumping on Hubby's Vespa to zoom around the city etc. But I always noticed the look of disdain from other Spanish women!

One day whilst shopping with my Spanish friend Carlotta (translation= Charlotte), who doesn't think twice about running around Carrefour (translation= French hyper-market now found all over Spain) in her Manolos, she looked at my feet decked in boat shoes and this was our conversation:

Carlotta: WHHYYY Van?
Me: Why what?
Carlotta: Why do you wear those 'ORRIBLE shoes?
Me: Don't you like them?
Carlotta: Did you come to the supermarket by boat?
Me: No
Carlotta: Do you own a boat?
Me: No. In fact I am a really bad sailor
Carlotta: Then why are you wearing boat shoes? It's like wearing your bikini to go shopping. Boat shoes should only be seen on a boat or by the beach!

And hence my love affair with my boat shoes was brought to an abrupt end. It wasn't until we had this conversation that I started looking at every woman's feet during the summer, and she was right; Spanish women never wear boat shoes away from the coast. Mediterranean men on the other hand wear them all the time in the city, and even in formal corporate environments during the summer. For men, they are regarded as "dapper" and "smart". But they are a real NO NO for women.

Do you agree with my friend Carlotta?

Friends with Benefits

Aug 18, 2011

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths are media sweethearts here in Spain. The media LOVE them. Why? Because they are always polite and gracious to the press and Antonio has never forgotten his Spanish roots. Just last weekend a photographer was following them whilst they were riding their bikes in Malaga. When he caught up with them, he was given a big hug by both and invited into the nearest bar for a coffee.

The Spanish love Melanie because she has embraced Spanish culture. Like me her language skills have a lot to be desired, but she tries, and the Spanish love a "trier".

Today Antonio gave an interview where he was explaining how whenever new Spanish actors come to Hollywood, him and Melanie open their homes to them, invite them to stay at their place(because he remembered how frightened he felt when he landed in LA alone). He cooks a huge paella, invites all his industry contacts, and does whatever he can to help aspiring actors in Hollywood.

In this interview he was speaking in particular about two specific actors who stayed with him (on separate ocassions) for months! When they were not staying in his home, they were on the phone daily asking Antonio to sort contacts out for them etc. He explained how now that "they" have made it big, when he sees them around they just turn the other way. They don't even acknowledge him or Melanie. One of the aforementioned individuals stayed in his home for over a year! Antonio was by no means complaining or sounding bitter. What he was saying was how sad that kind of behaviour was, because as fast as you can make it in Hollywood, it can chew you up and spit you out.

Who do you think he was talking about?

It is really sad when "friends" only use you for what they can obtain. Despite my professional background I am not very good at sussing out people close to me, who are like this; on the other hand my husband is really savvy.

What about you? Do you think there is a place for friends with benefits? Are you good at sussing out people like this quickly? How do you deal with "friends" like that before you kick them to the curb ;-)

Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

p.s you might also be interested in this post "Don't Forget Your Roots".

I'm Sure You Don't Agree (or maybe you do!)

Aug 15, 2011

I've always loved Christie Brinkley.

London-Summer 2011

London-Summer 2011

I was so excited to be seeing her in the London showing of Chicago when I returned to the UK for my hols (read previous post as to why it didn't happen).Her body and beauty is quite mystifying. Maybe she has had plastic surgery (I really can't tell), but if she has she must have one of the best surgeons in the world!

Chicago-London 2011

However, I read a magazine interview of hers this weekend, and was surprised to see her say,
"I try to read my news in the paper because online can lead you into the blogosphere, which can be one of the ugliest places in the world".

She's obviously talking about some of the hurtful things she read when she went through her last, very acrimonious divorce. But I am sure if you are reading this post you far from believe that the blogsophere is one of the ugliest places.

I would love to hear from you about:

*why you started blogging
*how (if at all) blogging has changed you in any small way
*what has surprised you most about blogging
* any observations you have about blogging

Please feel free to leave a link to your own blog with your comment, as a way of spreading the "blog love".

p.s If this is the first time commenting on this blog,or you are not a regular follower, links without constructive comments will be deleted. "Great post" followed by your link doesn't really cut it;-)
(Please see our comments policy in the Sidebar).

A Weekend of Improvisation.

Aug 12, 2011

This week was a very sad and disappointing week for me. The riots in the UK were startling to say the least. I feet so sad and embarrassed to say I am British. Here in Spain, as a country, they look up to anything that represents the UK. And I've always felt really patriotic . However after recent events I just wanted to hide under the biggest stone as videos of the anarchy were zoomed at lightening speed all over the world.

I'm tired of hearing people saying the riots were caused by dis-enfranchised youths. It wasn't! Teachers, a millionaires daughter, a postman, a care worker were amongst those involved. That just makes things more frightening and despairing for me.

I was also due to fly to the UK for my summer break, and with the situation at it's worse on the day I was due to fly, I decided to cancel everything.

I have no right to complain just because my holiday was cancelled, especially when I think of the people who lost homes, businesses and family in the fires started during the anarchy.

So instead of being with family and friends as was planned for this weekend, it's a weekend of improvisation.Life is all about adapting, so I'm just grateful I can still have a wonderful weekend without getting on a plane.

This is how I plan to spend some days; relaxing and reflecting.

What about you? What plans do you have?

Risky Business

Aug 9, 2011

There are many times in our life when taking a risk is just what we need to shake things up a bit.It helps move us out of our comfort zone without destroying our life. Yes, it often leaves us asking the question, "have I done the right thing?". But usually it's a question that we know the answer too.

If your risks are based on logic and not emotion, you can "usually" rest in the knowledge that it was a calculated risk. I say "usually" because I feel that you need emotion to move you forward when fear starts to grip you in the middle of the night as it usually does.

Here are some of my risks and things I learnt along the way:

Leaving family and friends in the UK to move to Mallorca/Spain

Saying goodbye to family, friends, our homes and two very welcome corporate salaries

There are times it feels like you are never going to reach your destination

Believing in your dream is paramount so that when the going gets tough and friends and family put doubts in your head (which they will), your beliefs in your vision will see you through.

The path isn't always sunshine and flowers, but having faith in your dream, makes the journey much easier.

Starting my jewellery business during the recession was a big risk. Sometimes starting something new when others can't see the opportune moment can pay off, but you have to be really passionate about what you want to do because you will be picking yourself up, and dusting yourself down many, many times.

What risks have you taken that paid off? Would love to hear.

And the Winner Of Luxuria's Giveaway is............................

Aug 8, 2011

OK Lovelies, I would first like to thank EVERYONE who participated in our Giveaway. So many of you joined in on Facebook and Twitter also which was much appreciated.

However, we didn't reach our target :-(

But as August really is a bad month for doing Giveaways, I've decided to honor the people that did participate and call the draw anyway.

And the winner is : IVANA from styleinthecityen.blogspot.com

Ivana please contact me so I can make arrangements to send you your prize.

Again a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated. And if you didn't win, don't worry there will be another Giveaway in Autumn.

Happy Monday everyone!

We're a Little Late for the Party!

Aug 3, 2011

I know for my American friends and family, summer holidays will be starting to wind down shortly. But here in the Med, the 1st August officially marked the start of the holiday season. Most big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville (where I am) are now like ghost-towns.

When you bid clients and friends farewell in July, they always say "see you next year". For Spanish, the "new year" begins in September;a time when new objectives/goals are set, new diets started etc.

So what does summer mean for this expat?
Heading to the most secluded beach we can find (Hubs and I have found some real gems since living here), away from the madding crowd.

It's time for some real rest and recuperation; catching up on my reading list, setting objectives for Autumn and Winter, which in turn produces lists! And generally trying to just enjoy the silence, broken only by the breaking waves

Summer means more fruit and liquid! Does it matter if the liquid is alcohol? I make a lethal sangria that usually puts everyone into an after-lunch coma!

Summer means casual attire. I don't actually own a pair of flip-flops, but you get the idea.Flip-flops are really popular in the US, but not so much in Europe.What's your "must-own" item for summer?

Summer certainly means not participating in anything that takes too much brain power or physical strength. It really is my time to be lazy, altho' I'm not great at being able to switch-off, and it usually takes me a long time.

So what does/did this summer mean for you? Any new objectives? Perhaps you don't even like summer and prefer the cosiness of Winter. I must admit, by the time September arrives, I really have had enough of the heat, dried hair that is starting to resemble crispy seaweed! I start to look forward to seeing rain, watching an electric thunderstorm from the warmth of my home, and feeling the fresh wind against my face. What about you? Are you a beach babe or more of a little tortoise that is just waiting to go into hibernation?

p.s if you are new to this blog, don't forget to enter our Blog Giveaway (2 posts below which ends on Sunday!)