Month: October 2013

Mumsnet Blogfest 2013

I started writing blogs in 2005.

I was so proud of my first ever post that I excitedly sent it to my friends. What the fuck is that for? was more or less the response I got from people who’s opinions mattered to me. Ah, thought I, perhaps I need to work on this for a while. So I did.

I quietly obsessed about my blog, what I was writing, how I was writing, should I leave things in, take them out, was it too personal, or not personal enough? Aaargh! I feared that my mother in law would find it, and I hoped that she would.

Finally I started to work out what I was interested in, and I what I wanted to say. I didn’t have much help with the tech side of it, it was trial and error, and a lot of fiddling around with Blogger, and then I made the jump to WordPress. I learnt about tags and categories and photos and what not, and along the way it became clear to me that I wasn’t on my own, out there, across the sea away from Mallorca there was a community of other people who were blogging and expressing and creating in the middle of the night as well.

Then last year, I got the chance to go to Blogfest, organised by Mumsnet. I had a ball. It inspired me and educated me, and I got quite a crush on Paul Armstrong (Social Media genius) and Tim Dowling (dry clever man from The Guardian) and Caitlin Moran (head bobbing rock n roll chick). It felt really good to be part of something big.

I’ve been fortunate enough to score a return visit to London to go to Blogfest again this year. It’s quite difficult to choose between some of the breakout sessions but you can guarantee that I will be beating a trail right back to the techies to get my update on what the hell I should be doing, followed by elbowing fellow bloggers out of the way to get to the cupcakes and rounding my day off by being first in the queue for the goody bag.

It’s all there to play with, bring it on.

Blowing bubbles

Brad Robertson, Ondine Escape, Vicki McLeod, Family Matters Mallorca When I was a teenager I was a passionate supporter of Greenpeace, I was a strident opponent of certain political systems, and I refused to walk past butchers’ shops. And then I got older and these things, although I still cared about them, didn’t take up or couldn’t take up as much space in my mind as they had done. I am now beginning to realise that the things that we hold dear and important to us when we are children are really the things that truly mean something to us and shouldn’t be shrugged off as “teenage whimsy”.

This doesn’t explain why two years ago I accepted the opportunity to learn to dive with Brad Robertson from Ondine Escape an adventure sports company with a strong environmental focus based in Mallorca: I hate cold water and after some bad experiences in trying to learn to dive when I was younger I wasn’t so keen. However the whole experience was amazing and the finale when I was asked to get into the shark tank at the Palma Aquarium was incredible.

You can read about the whole experience on my blog

here: http://familymattersmallorca.com/2011/06/01/a-secret-mission/,

here: http://familymattersmallorca.com/2011/06/01/dive-school/

and here: http://familymattersmallorca.com/2011/06/01/just-your-average-sunday/

My little girl, La Gidg, went through the whole thing with me, watching enviously from the waterside, and waving back at me when I was in the shark tank. “You can learn when you are eight”, Brad told her. She didn’t forget that, and would occasionally raise the topic of whether or not her dad and I remembered that when she turned eight she would legally be allowed to dive.

Gidg turned eight this week. Incredibly she seemed to have forgotten amongst all the other birthday shizzle that she now could dive with Brad if she so wished. But Brad and I had not, and colluded to arrange a surprise meeting on the beach during her birthday picnic. Surprise, surprise he had some diving gear with him, so would Gidg like to go and blow some bubbles? Of course she did!

There aren’t that many people that I would trust with my daughter’s safety: as an eight year old she can participate in a dive up to 2 metres deep with a qualified diving instructor, but I was very happy to hand her over to Brad who had looked after me and treated me with such patience and understanding when I had learnt to dive.  I watched with a great deal of pride as she was briefed and then loaded up with gear and walked into the sea. They were gone for what felt like hours, but was probably not quite as long. When they re-emerged from the water the rest of the people on the beach got the shock of their life when some banshee started cheering and yelling at the top of her voice (sorry about that Cala Bendinat).

And so a new passion has been formed: a passion for adventure, for the environment, for challenge, and for fun.

Happy birthday chickadee, and thank you Brad for the best present we could ever have given her.

“Me time”

Vicki McLeod, Mallorca, Health and Beauty PRLately I have been feeling tired, pooped, burnt out, nay completely and utterly exhausted. I’ve even been to the doctors to see if there was something wrong with me. According to the blood tests I am A-Okay, which I am sure you will be very glad to hear. But that didn’t resolve how I was feeling. “Take some time for yourself” I was advised (not by the doctor who, once he had established there wasn’t anything physically wrong me, had shown me the door pretty sharpish).

Right then, I shall try that, thought I.

So last week I planned that on Saturday morning I would go to the Palma Goes Yoga event in town. It is a free outdoor yoga class organised by several of the island’s yoga groups and last year I had kicked myself that I missed it. I was looking forward to going, what a novelty to do yoga outside with loads of people, and if that wasn’t “taking time for me” doing something I enjoy which is definitely good for me, well I didn’t know what could be.

Saturday dawned and of course on the way to Palma I had managed to give myself several other jobs to do which meant I spent the first forty minutes of the outdoor yoga class actually in my office printing off posters for Friday’s (October 25th)  Indulgence Day which I am organising at Mood. The irony did not escape me that whilst I was supposed to be going to the yoga class I was actually spending my time doing something for everyone else. The day itself is going to be great, there are almost 30 different therapists, make-up artists, hair stylists, yoga teachers, nutritionists, healers, chiropractors and many others all gathering at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes to offer free mini sessions. It’s going to be fantastic, but you must book! Send an email to info@moodbeach.com if you want to go.

Finally, after I’d got the posters organised I managed to get myself to Palma and joined in the class. As I sat on my yoga mat alongside some of my yoga class pals and our fabulous teacher Kevin McDonnell, I suddenly had a blast of complete and utter happiness. It was wonderful to be there. And I felt quite pleased with myself that I had (albeit late) turned up to participate. I DID feel better. Now what I need is for someone else to organise an Indulgence Day where I can be a punter rather than an organiser!

I’m hoping to get some time to speak to Suzanne Garaty who is a nutritionist who will be exhibiting there and who hopefully will set me on the right path to rediscovering my energy levels, I have a feeling a prescription which will include porridge may be involved. Whatever health issues you have they may well be addressed by some of the experienced and skilled people who are attending, so please come along and get involved.

If you can’t make it then put March 8th in your diary for next year as I will be repeating it then.

In the meantime, here’s some of my photos from last Saturday’s very cool outdoor yoga! Some outdoor yoga happening at Mood on Friday!

It’s not all rubbish

EPORE outing to Son Reus You know there is such a thing as a “Bucket List”? It’s a list of things to do before you die. Well, I should try to keep a record of my own personal Bucket List as I fulfilled a great ambition this week: I went to the Son Reus rubbish dump just north of Palma. I know, call me a nerd, or a weirdo, but I’ve always wondered where my rubbish goes. We live in S’Arracó where all of the villagers are compelled to separate and sort their rubbish. We have door to door collections of organic waste, plastics, paper, glass and “mixed” (that’s when we get rid of the cat litter, wine corks, and things that don’t fit in with the easier categories). I have obsessed about this topic before on my blog: click here. 

I’ve been diligently putting things in the right containers for more than two years: tearing the cellophane windows out of envelopes, washing out yoghurt pots and, this is when I really feel like a hero, even washing out the cat food tins and (horrors) touching the strange jelly stuff that clings to the inside of the can.

The system works thus: you collect your varied rubbish and then on set days of the week you hang the appropriate bag of separated rubbish outside of your house to be collected by the waste collection gang from the council. It’s certainly brought my local community together more: hanging out the weekly bag for glass recycling is an opportunity to rate each other on alcoholic intake. But once the bag is collected, what happens to it next? Does my attention to detail matter, or was it all going into the same hole in the ground anyhow? It had played on my mind that’s for sure, and I often wondered if I could go to see. Well, thanks to EPORE (Europeos Por Espana www.epore.org) I did. They organised a trip this week and I jumped at the chance to go thinking I was going to some secret place where no one was allowed to visit. Far from it: we met at the beautiful Visitors’ Centre and watched a very well made video in English, and then took in the Education Centre and went on a monorail train around the site to see how rubbish was recycled. I found out about how the recycling centre is one of the best in the world, that surprised me, I also found out about how the incineration of rubbish (which is about  50% of the waste created here on the island, the rest is processed and then recycled) creates energy for 60´000 homes. It was absolutely fascinating, and anyone can do it. The information is on their website www.tirme.com where you can see everything in English including instructions on how to visit the centre.

Better still I had some pressing questions answered by Montse, our guide, who put my mind at rest. No, I am not a nerd for separating the cellophane from the paper envelope; thank you for washing out your tins, but you don’t have to (you cannot believe how happy this made me, no more washing up cat food tins!); it doesn’t really matter if you use glass bottles or plastic bottles, they both have to be recycled; plastics includes all plastic, plus it also includes tins and metals, and the things which are called “briks” i.e. cartons to you and I. There was always the doubt in my mind that although I was doing my bit for the environment that it didn’t really matter, well I learnt this week, that it does.  Thanks to EPORE for a great opportunity. Where are we going next?