20.03.2020

Its the end of the first working week in confinement in Spain to protect ourselves from Coronavirus and, rather than being at breaking point, as I thought I would be by now with two small kids and a full-time job, I am pleased to say it has actually gone rather well. True, I keep getting urges to do things I never would have normally been motivated to get up off my behind for – like going for a run along the seafront at the Cartagena harbour, funny how when something is forbidden you want to do it more than ever – but my children are calmer than before, we are getting some quality family time in which was previously a rarity, and thanks to the support of my company I have been able to work from home without too much difficulty at all.

At the beginning of the week, when my daughters various school teachers and after school activity teachers started sending daily homework via WhatsApp, email and apps, I thought Jesus, not only am I having to do my 40 hour work week, but on top of that Im now being required to moonlight as a teacher, a cook and a lunch lady, a ballet teacher and a Kumon academy maths teacher! How on earth can anyone expect me to be able to deal with all of that?!

But my children are thriving from the one-to-one attention they are getting and the lessening in the rhythm of their fast-paced lives. Normally they get up at 7:30 am and dont get home until 7:00 pm, and they are 4 and 5 years old, so you can see why they might be in need of a bit of a break. But make no mistake, this is not a holiday! I get up at my normal 6:30am and get straight to work – no need to dress fancy or slap on a tonne of makeup when youre working from home so the extra time can be directed to more productive activity. I clear my inbox and get the previous days figures off to my boss, make a to do list, join the morning team conference call, and then its time to get my girls some breakfast, get them dressed and get them started on their home schooling.

And the rest of the day is split between “lessons” and my work. We do writing, reading, numbers, drawing, play-doh, dancing, singing, puzzles, building blocks. I wouldnt say Im super organised, we dont have a timed schedule, we just cruise from one item to the next at our own pace. A lot of the time the phone rings and its work, and by the time I come back to the girls they have turned the room upside down and it looks like a bomb shell fell on it, but on the plus side they are getting very good at tidying up! Barring the odd scream of “mummyyyyyyy Lydia hit me!” in the middle of some conference call or other, I think Im surviving quite well.

 

19.03.2020

Chiringuito all the way

Whatever it is that draws you to Spain one reason that unites all expats and holidaymakers alike is the weather. The southern and eastern coastal regions of the peninsula along with the Balearics and the Canary Islands boast statistics such as 300 days of glorious sunshine a year, the one thing that brings sun-starved northern Europeans in their hoards. And one of the most typical and wonderful ways to enjoy the sunshine, is at a chiringuito on the beach.

A chiringuito, pronounced chi-ring-GEE-toe (thats gee with a hard G as in goat), is always found right on the beach, nestled in the sand, and can range from a simple kiosk style hut to a full on restaurant, with tables, umbrellas, sun loungers, even a pergola style roof to shade its clients from the sun. The one thing they have in common is that they are open-air so that you can enjoy your food and drink with your feet in the sand looking over the sea and listening to the waves. A complete sensory experience.

Youll find chiringuitos that offer elaborated cocktails, typical hot or cold tapas, junk food, delicious freshly cooked seafood, ice creams, the best chilled beers served in iced glasses, the variety is endless. Some will be more family oriented with childrens play areas attached, others more for adults serving mostly alcohol with a few nibbles available and a DJ playing live chillout music.

There is a reason the Spanish flock to the chiringuitos in the summer – and youll even find some of those with more restaurant type facilities open all year round so that you can enjoy your outdoor meal with that summer beach sensation whatever the time of year – and you shouldnt leave Spain without having tried the experience. There are even apps, like Chiringuía, that list all the chiringuitos with photos, menus, opening hours, so that you can find one that matches your needs before even leaving your home. So, heres to chiringuitos and the beautiful Spanish climate!

 

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