The GrapeVine

Santosha

Santosha Cafe in Palma

So, when you see a new business starting up and talking about operating within very strong ethics then I think it’s a good idea to go along, check them out, support them, find out about them, and if you like the food/place/people, then make sure you return. I had the opportunity to go to a new place I keep hearing about when my friend and colleague Aimee celebrated her birthday a week or so ago. We met up with about a dozen friends and had a menu del dia together at Santosha which is just off Bon Aire in Palma. I was seriously impressed with the venue, the care taken by the owners and staff there, and of course, the food. I found out that Santosha café-restSantosha Cafeaurant is the fruit of years of planning for the owners. They care deeply about slow food, family, community and the planet, and this care is behind everything they do. Most of the food they serve comes from local organic producers. Their menus will change according to what fresh fruit and vegetables are in season. Any animal products they serve come from animals who have enjoyed a good life and been treated humanely. Their coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and other ingredients that cannot be Santosha Cafe (2)grown locally are all sourced from small companies who treat their employees with the same respect with which they endeavour to treat theirs. What they hope to create is, above all, a positive and welcoming space for food lovers and art lovers, for readers and day-dreamers, for coffee addicts and yogis, for worn-out parents and lovely loners and everything in between.  I’m definitely returning soon! You can see more about them on http://www.facebook.com/SantoshaEcoCafe

Can Corem

Last year, at the party to end all parties: Sa Taronja, my wedding anniversary, it was fantastic, we had Jerry with his amazing free range hog roast, karaoke, too much wine, a million friends and…. these guys: Delta Flo. Now they will be performing on Saturday Great Delta Trio!night (30 Jan) at Can Corem. They play Country & Southern Rock, Bluegrass, and Delta Blues. So if you want to hear achingly beautiful, cry in your beer ballads, foot stompin’ rockin rhythms, and dueling instruments then you might want to get over to Can Corem which is between Llucmajor and Campos. Entry is 10€ per person, and you can get yourself fed there as well if you want to eat. The musicians are an international bunch. You will see and hear Isaac Vega (Spanish) playing acoustic guitar and
singing harmonies, Lynn Gaydosh on lead vocals (from Ohio, USA), and Soriana Ivaniv (from the Ukraine) playing violin and singing harmonies. Doors open at 19.00 and the show starts at 20.00. Find out more at http://www.fincacancorem.com

 

EPORE AGM

The AGM for Europeos Por Espana will happen on Thursday 4th February at 6.30pm for 7pm at the OD Hotel in Portals. Anyone who wishes to attend should make sure they are punctual.

WLC

Vamos Challengers!

We’ve started the first Challenge of the year, and so far, so good. I’m being fairly dedicated: getting up extremely early in the morning (by my standards anyway) to train
at Crossfit Mallorca, and then arriving back in my village in time to capture photos of the s'Arraco mistearly morning mist and sunrise. I understand from our captain, Lidia Villalonga, that she has a few surprises in store for different training venues oThe Challengers in various states of pain!ver the next eight weeks, for example I know for sure that we will be invading a children’s playground somewhere in Palma! It’s fun. Whoever thought I would write that!

Flash bang wallop!

Pernilla shooting Noemi at Mood

Bikini shoot at Mood

Even though Mood has been closed for holidays (reopens on February 12th in time for Valentine’s Day which will be lovely) we’ve seen a lot of photo shoots. One for a new wedding store destined to open in Santa Catalina, another for a bikini catalogue (thoseAll made and ready for my close up girls must have been freezing, but they look great) and even with one for a project I am involved in. A photographer who I have known about for a while, Pernilla Danielsson and the team from Look Mallorca, came to shoot their profile photos at Mood. There was hair and makeup, and hopefully there might be a tad of Photoshop to make the larger members of the team (okay, me) look a bit thinner, younger, more like Penelope Cruz… a girl can dream!

Respiralia

Carlos doing his Respiralia presentation

I was asked by Carlos Pons from the Respiralia Foundation to attend their ten year anniversary last week to take photos for them. I was sitting in the front row with my camera, ready for action, when up on the slide show popped my face and the faces of Margaret and Tony Whittaker! We were thanked, along with other expats, for our work in helping to raise funds for the organisation. It was a lovely surprise, and very nice to be thanked. If you want to know more about the foundation which supports children with cystic fibrosis and their families, then visit http://www.respiralia.org.

Renee’s party!

Renee and friends

Someone else who has a big heart is Renee who will soon be celebrating her birthday. She doesn’t want presents though, she’s decided instead to raise money for animals on the island. You can make her wish come true by attending Bar Leos (opposite The House of Katmandu in Magaluf) on February 6th from 5pm until late. The theme of the party is Blue, so I guess you should wear something Euro-coinblue, or maybe go as a smurf! The singer Angel Flukes will be performing, there will be a tombola, a quiz, a raffle and karaoke, so plenty to keep you entertained. The money raised will be going to pay for the castration of street cats and to help other animals as well. Well done Renee, and the best of luck!

Supper Club Networking Group

A previous Supper Club meeting

Finally, the first meeting of The Supper Club for 2016 will be on Thursday February 18th at 7pm. If you want to attend then send me an email to vicki@moodbeach.com

 

It’s a dog’s life

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I’m trying my best to not look at the news anymore. Donald Trump’s recent insane pronouncement, another shooting, another death, another flood, another person being arrested for fraud, another species about to die out. I need to take a break from the news: it’s too much to take in. That’s ironic, given that this article is for a newspaper (but you can also read it on my blog mallorcamatters.com). Instead I have been looking inwards, at myself and at my family and trying to make sure that each and every one of us is happy, or at least happier, than we were. I’ve found inspiring lists like these:

  • Sit in silence for at least ten minutes a day
  • Dream more while you are awake
  • You don’t have to win every argument, agree to disagree
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone, so get rid of those ill feelings
  • No one is in charge of your happiness, except you
  • Read more books than you did last month
  • Sleep for eight hours a day
  • Smile and laugh more
  • Drink plenty of water, at least two litres a day
  • Forget issues of the past, don’t remind your partner with their mistakes of the past
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change
  • Call your family often

And yes, some of it I should certainly do more of, and I am trying, but really what can make an instant impact on your life? Get yourself a Cookie. My daughter, La Gidg, and I had been talking (plotting) for a while about how we might be able to get a small dog into our house without my husband minding too much. We knew that we couldn’t have a big dog as they are so much responsibility, but a small dog which doesn’t need too much walking and is about the same size as a biggish cat? Shouldn’t be a problem. Now all we had to do was wait for the right one to come along.  This week it happened. My daughter was on a sleep over and I got word that there was a cat sized male adult dog looking for an immediate home. After a chat with his fosterer (Kim from Dogs For U) and a chat with my husband, I went and met Kim and took Cookie home with me. My daughter didn’t have a clue that her dream was about to come true until she got back and we introduced her to our new family member. Now Cookie is settling in nicely and seems to be fitting in just fine, all he wants to do is be with his new people, get a cuddle and a biscuit and in return we get a very waggy tale,  stinky kisses and unbridled joy.  Happy days.

Not every apple is created equal

 

Fruit n Veg

I dislike the phrase “health kick”. It suggests that it will be over in a flash, probably after taking someone out at the knees and landing on their bottom. It’s not a good image. I prefer the phrase “lifestyle change” which is more appropriate, sounds more serious and more, you know, grown up. We’ve (I say we, I mean “I”) been reading a lot about different types of diets: low fat, low calorie, Paleo, 80/20, Cabbage Soup, the White Food Diet, you name it they’re out there. They all claim they are THE diet to make the difference. Following research from Israeli scientists it turns out that it’s not a “One Size Fits All” approach to diet that will work: your body may well respond differently to your partner’s because of different responses to a food’s Glycemic Index.  But measuring your responses to your food may be a step too far for most of us, you’d need to ask a scientist to move in for a start, but there are other things we can do to improve the healthiness of how and what we are eating. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who buys her veggies with every good intention to “do something with them” and then at the end of the week have to throw them out to replace them with a new version of the same thing, what a waste. According to Mallorca’s own Mister Eco, Jerry Whitehouse, not every vegetable is created equal as with modern farming methods there are plenty of your five a day that are coming with added ingredients you probably didn’t want. Spinach, kale, lettuce and leafy greens have been found to be contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. Potatoes are the vegetable which has the most pesticides used on it by far but even the humble cucumber will have had 86 different pesticides used on it whilst celery will have seen 60 pesticides. 98 percent of peaches and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue strawberries are covered in a fungicidal spray, and cherries (which I eat like sweets in the summer, you can imagine my dismay when I saw them on the list), pears and grapes (imported) are all fruits to give a serious swerve to as well. Apparently you should also be checking out your humble raisin as well, as just like the grapes they come from they can have traces of 15 different pesticides on them. And don’t even get me started on apples…. The good news is that you can source organic products in Mallorca very easily, and cost effectively, which supports both your health and the economic health of the island and you can even get them delivered to your door!  Check out http://www.mistereco.es for more information about organic food in Mallorca, we are the potato capital of Europe, but that’s a whole other story.

Let’s be friends

A previous Supper Club meeting

Networking needn’t be nasty

I spent an hour today talking about networking on Frank Leaver’s show on Radio One Mallorca. I hope I did myself proud. I was on the radio because this week (in fact 7pm on Thursday November 5th, then Thursday December 10th) I am restarting (after a year off) an informal networking and friend making group that I had originally set up five years ago. It’s called The Supper Club and is a great opportunity to make new contacts, catch up with old ones, possibly do some business, definitely have a laugh, and get dinner thrown in all for under 20€. If you want to attend then email your reservation to info@moodbeach.com and get yourself over to Portals.

It’s not so long ago that I hadn’t even heard of the term “networking”, but I think I’ve always been a “networker”. Back in the day I might have been called less flattering things, like “busy body”, “do gooder” or (crivens) “nosy parker”. Why? Because in order to be an effective networker you don’t spend hours talking about yourself “selling” whatever it is that you need to get across, no, you spend time finding out about others and working out what might be helpful for them, perhaps make connections for them which they will find useful, and think about their issues and problems trying to find solutions. It can be exhausting doing this, it’s a relentless one way street so you need to know when to politely slow to a halt on your helpful assault and wait to see if the other side reciprocates. Like unrequited love, it’s not healthy to be in a one sided relationship.

But networking needn’t be frightening, approach it with an open mind, remember to stay authentically true to yourself, perhaps arm yourself with five opening questions that you can try out to get the conversation going, or perhaps a joke, and step in. If you need one then ask for an introduction, go to the organiser and say “Can you introduce me to….” and get them to help you. The good thing is that at a networking event other people are there with the same aim as you so you don’t need to feel strange about talking to a complete stranger, and remember, you get out what you put in. Don’t forget your business cards.  The networking doesn’t finish there either, the next day you need to send a message to the people you connected to: either as an email, a Facebook request, a text message, a phone call, whatever seems appropriate to the situation.

The more you network, the easier it gets, but you have to keep doing it. There are plenty of different types of groups in Mallorca, so go find one, invite me to it, and let’s do it! http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

Rain starts play

Tea and CDs

I often work at strange times of the night. It’s quieter then and I can get a lot done in a short period of time, and let’s face it, there’s more fun stuff to be done than working when other people are awake! I’m either an evil genius or very lucky that my job allows me to do this. I can schedule myself to produce the things I need to do when I want to do them. I’m normally accompanied at my desk by at least one cat, a cup of tea and, playing in the background, whatever TV series I am binge watching on Netflix at the moment. (You can get it in Spain now, but for quite a long time I have been using it via a VPN which can mask my whereabouts to seem as if I am in the USA or the UK or indeed anywhere around the world, handy for watching telly mainly although the company who runs the VPN would insist it’s much more for your own personal security than for enabling me to watch every season of Mad Men back to back).

When we get some funny weather (storms, high winds, heavy rain) it can affect our internet connection in our village as it is done via some kind of clever wireless system.  Then I find myself with many more cats as they are not keen on the rain, the same amount of tea, but no internet. I can still work, as it’s mainly my brain and my notes which I need to produce the articles, but boy is it lonely! Then I have to turn to old fashioned things such as CDs for company. Yes, we still have them, about a thousand of them, all collecting dust downstairs in our living room. We just had a major clear out upstairs last week and soon it will be the turn of the ground floor. Can I cast out my CDs? Is that as bad as getting rid of books, which for me are easier to hoard than shoes might be for another woman. Decades of my life are chronicled through my CDs, my choices of bands, the songs that meant something to me at the time. I may not listen to them that often anymore but they’re still important, right? I will occasionally listen again to songs on Spotify which remind me of other times, some happy and some very sad memories. My husband likes to talk about that episode of Tomorrow’s World where the presenters demonstrated the apparent indestructibility of the CD, do you remember it? They poured substances all over the disc and scratched it up, but it still played, a nice metaphor for our lives as well.  But some of my CDs have been treated with love and still refuse to work. Much like the internet this morning as I write this column. We live in a valley in the countryside after all. Despite my connectivity to the world I am still, gratefully, joyfully, living in a small village on a Mediterranean island exposed to the elements year round. It’s times like this, as I tap out these words, surrounded by furry friends and listening to some Joni Mitchell, as the rain beats on the window and I am cosy inside in my office, that I get to remember that life really is rather great.

Find your dream

 

Follow your dreams

Back in the day, my first ever career out of school (funny isn’t it how we all used to think we would have one career and have to stick to it for the rest of our lives) was in the theatre. I was a stage and company manager, working my way up from the humble position of Assistant Stage Manager (tea maker, stage sweeper, lunch fetcher, prop maker, et al) through many different short term contracts with a wide variety of styles of theatre and companies. You would get the job, work the job and then at the end of the contract you might be asked to do another show, or you would go and look in the back of The Stage newspaper and see what was happening, or perhaps you would hear about something on the grapevine, or better yet, you would receive a phone call from a production manager or director who had heard about you and wanted to meet you. I started from nothing at my local theatre doing work experience, they in turn (and this was my first encouragement to keep going) asked me to return to work on a show the following year as a part of the stage crew, then one thing led to another and I joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain as part of their Stage Management Team (returning a few years later to actually work for them is one of the proudest moments of my life). I worked in the West End, and toured nationally and internationally, all without ever having stepped inside of a drama school or university to train.

Now, I know that you can’t apply this method to some types of profession, the obvious one being doctor and you can’t just show up and learn on the job as a dentist either I would suggest. Sometimes you might even feel that you are not qualified or able to perform a task because you weren’t taught it in a classroom and then sat an exam on the subject, but really there’s a vast choice of jobs that you absolutely should learn from the bottom up that do not require three years in college. More importantly is the individual aptitude and personality: are you enthusiastic, ready to work and eager to improve? I think these qualifications are all you need. But the crunch comes when you may be desperate to do something new in your working life, but simply have no idea what. That’s something I have never suffered from and I think it’s because I’ve always kept an open mind about what I can and can’t do, and what interests me or not. Why do people get so stuck in jobs that they don’t like when the reality is that if you want to change your job, you can. Look around and find something that interests you, research it, go and introduce yourself to the people who can help you, and be enthusiastic, determined, and ready to learn. I’m living proof that it works.

Coffee time!

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It happens every year: August is a burn out, in more ways than one, and then BOOM! The weather changes and we’re straight back on the Mallorca merry go round of charity events and get togethers. I’ve got to admit, I do love our island for that. This Friday I am helping to organise “Mallorca’s Biggest Coffee Morning” which will be at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes and in aid of the cancer organisations on the island. It’s only 5€ per person which gives you a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, and a nice warm glow. You can bring friends, or make some when you get there as it’s normally quite busy. Doors open at 11am and then at 1pm there will be a menu special offer (call Mood for info as you have to book by Thursday afternoon, 971 676 456). Izzy Newman will be singing and being her lovely self, there will be cake competitions (thankfully for my waistline I am not a judge) which you can enter if you would like to. The categories will be Best: chocolate, sponge, fruit, cupcake or decorated, and you need to bring your creation to the venue between 10 and 10.30am on the day.

We’ve also got an fine offering of prizes for the best cakes, and some excellent raffle prizes as well. I have all of these in my hot little hands, I’m trying to figure out which ones I am going to “lose” and keep for myself, heh heh heh! So, if you are at the event on Friday you might win:  a painting by Vivian Borsani , a voucher for a pair of TopAs shoes, a 25€ voucher for Gaia Bathtime in Palma, a voucher from Salon Bling for a Shellac manicure, a voucher for a photography session with Aimee K Photography, a voucher for a facial from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, a voucher for a massage from Bodhana Wellness in Portals, four sessions with the Mallorca Tutoring Academy, a session of yoga with Saskia Griffiths, a makeup session with Laura Gisbert, a crystal ball from Angela Pryce, a book voucher from Kay Halley at Universal Bookshop, a voucher from Clare Jury at Nice Price, a voucher for a Jessica Geleration – gel polish treatment  from Lauren Watson at Studio 1, a voucher for a nutritional consultation from Suzanne Garaty, a voucher for a microdermabrasion facial from the HSJ Clinic and Doctor Huw Jones, and handmade jewellery from Confetti and Julia Ball. Not a bad list eh? And there’s more! So please make sure you come along on Friday and support the event.

Climb every mountain

Sa Foradada

“I’m not going. I’m NOT!” My daughter, La Gidg, has determinedly set out her stall over the last weeks  after we announced our plan to go for a walk en famille to the “hole in the rock restaurant” at Sa Foradada in Deia. Completely understandable really: last time she went on a big walk involving a steep hill climb and descent (January 2015, Sa Trapa) she slipped and fell, slicing her leg open. We ended up in hospital having her knee stitched up to the tune of fifteen external and god knows how many (official statistics were hard to come by) internal stitches. This incident was then followed by several weeks of outpatient appointments to the paediatric department and a as yet pending plastic surgery operation for this winter coming. She could get away with saying that a shark attacked her the scar is that big and scary. Accompanying the scar came a fear of repeating the incident and hurting herself again. She was extraordinarily brave when we made our way down after she fell, keeping going through extreme pain and in very difficult circumstances, but her courage seemed to have given way to what some might say was a sensible approach, but my husband and I thought was overly cautious to the point of avoidance. We’re not the most “outward bound” type of family, although we do try, so her new approach to going for a walk on a Sunday didn’t really go down that well. We tried a variety of arguments to get her to change her mind: rationalising that it was a fluke accident that was unlikely to repeat, playing it cool and waiting for her to change her mind through the sheer amount of time that had passed, and most recently, blackmail. That good old fashioned parenting tool which has to be got out of the box now and again. Really we needed to get her “back on the horse” and back on the trail as we knew that the fear could be overcome, and we knew that the fear had to be overcome. So, last Sunday, following a couple of quite difficult ultimatums, we finally got on the track. My husband went ahead of us and we were left to make our way down on our own, just as we had when we descended from Sa Trapa in January. Walking slowly down to the sea, and to lunch, my daughter and I had the time of our lives. We gossiped about boys, we talked about funny things that she had done when she was a baby, and we spoke about the future. We looked after each other going down the steep path, and then back up it again, and don’t be mistaken, it’s a tough hot, breathless climb back up. But that’s to be expected isn’t it, and facing your fears, whatever they are, has to be done, whatever age you are.  www.familymattersmallorca.com

Stand up for James.

James, ready to rock

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find myself amazed and grateful for the life I am living. One of the great things I get to do is to meet interesting people doing unique things, and so this week I met 18 year old James Fitzsimmons. James has been living in Mallorca since he was a toddler. He lives in Andratx with his mum Sharon. One day, when James was eleven his friend rang him up and asked him if he wanted to go kayaking, James said yes, and literally the rest is history. He found a sport which suited him and he it, and very soon he was out on the water as often as he possibly could be. He started to compete and rose through the ranks of his peers to start winning Open Water Kayak races as a junior. And now as an adult, in the Under 23 category he is already winning competitions against older and more experienced “paddlers”.

James now has the opportunity to go to Tahiti and compete in the World Championships (or “World Champs” as he endearingly calls it). His training schedule is relentless and his dedication is impressive, but when you hear that he is doing it with very little organised or formal coaching or support then you begin to be really, really impressed with him. Since turning eighteen and becoming legally an adult, he doesn’t get the same sort of help as he would have done when he was seventeen and younger. Which is an incredible shame. So James’s mum Sharon is fighting to raise the funds to get her son to the South Pacific to compete. If you want to show your support you can join in at Sa Vinya in Es Capdella, Calvia on Sunday September 20th from 16.00 to 20.00 where there will be a fun fundraising event for James (they are planning to put his kayaks in the swimming pool and invite people to try to get into them, it’s much harder than it looks, so there could be a few splashes!). Sponsors for logos on his boat are also being sought to help him raise the 4000€ he needs to get to the competition. When you look around and see so many disillusioned young people it’s wonderful to see one so driven and quietly determined to succeed. Please support or sponsor James and wish him luck in his big World Champ. You can do this by contacting Sharon Grange (jamessurfski@gmail.com 639385874) or Izzy Newman (639693922) or by visiting the Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/Surfski18

Now hear this

donkey ears

I can’t believe that I am writing this, but I might be about to “go private”. It’s totally against my lefty, hippy, sandal wearing principles but I have my reasons, believe me. I’ve been suffering with something which is very typical in Mallorca: recurrent ear problems. I started to feel rather ropey on a Sunday afternoon during a beach party for a friend of my daughter, so I took myself off to our local emergency room. I was swiftly diagnosed with an ear infection and prescribed antibiotic ear drops (Exhibit A) and packed on my way. Perfect, my normal experience of the Spanish public health system. No bedside manner, no big deal. I have my medication so therefore I am happy, bish bam bosh.

The following day, Monday, I made an appointment to see my family doctor. Off I trotted to see my doc, only to find in his place a rather sullen and completely disinterested locum. Well, it is August in Mallorca, so everyone has gone on their holidays. I was briefly examined by this chap who told me the first set of drops I had been prescribed were no use and that I should be using another set. I went to the Farmacia to collect them only to be told by my wonderful local chemist that the locum had prescribed had exactly the same ingredients as the emergency doctor. Hmm, thought I, not so impressive. But I bought the drops (exhibit B) to be on the safe side. The next day I woke to find I had an ear infection in the other ear, by now I was very tired, very grumpy, completely deaf and very behind in my work. I made another appointment. Expecting to see the same locum I went in to find another locum, this time he was a she, and if possible even less interested in my painful problem. “You already have the drops you need,” she told me. Yes, I have the antibiotics from Sunday but it’s now Thursday. “No, no, the drops you were given on Tuesday” she replied. I showed her both bottles, so these are not the same then? I asked her. She took the bottle (Exhibit A) and pronounced with accompanied eye rolling, “No, these are just for wax”.  At this point in the conversation I gave up, stood up, and went straight back to the Farmacia for confirmation that the doctor was wrong, she was. And then I called Dr Stoma in Portals, asked how much it would be to see him without private insurance and made an appointment.  He listened, he was polite, he examined me properly, even asking if my ears were hurting when he touched them. I didn’t realise that bedside manner was so important, but when you are feeling ill you need someone to be respectful and interested in you, not sullen, rude, rough and arrogant which is how I felt the locum doctors behaved towards me, aside from the obvious problem that neither of them had a clue what they were talking about.  It was in fact a revelation to me that a visit to a doctor’s surgery could be such a relief. Manners really do make the man.