Month: March 2016

Lost in Translation

V - Espanol

I’m two weeks in to my intermediate Spanish course. So far I have been on time for each lesson, so well done me, it’s after I arrive that it goes downhill.  We’ve been spending a lot of our lessons talking about things that we did in the past to learn how to use the past tense in verbs. That’s all good if there were only one past tense to choose from, but there are two I can describe and another two that I am not sure of yet. That makes FOUR!! Don’t you think that’s just greedy?

I had to get this explanation from the internet (thanks to http://www.spanish.about.com) as I don’t want to give you the wrong information and lead you down the same rabbit hole I’m in.

“What’s past is past, but in Spanish what’s past may be either preterite or imperfect. Unlike English, Spanish has two simple past tenses, known as the preterite (often called the preterit) and the imperfect indicative. (As in English, they are known as simple tenses to distinguish them from verb forms that use an auxiliary verb, such as “has left” in English and ha salido in Spanish.)

Although the English simple past in a sentence such as “he ate” can be conveyed in Spanish using either the preterite (comió) or the imperfect indicative (comía), the two tenses are not interchangeable.”

I know this is true because of the amount of times I’ve managed to get it wrong in class and everyone else has sniggered at me. There are some very smart people in my group, which is not intimidating at all, no, no, really. No.

I’m also fairly certain now that even though the famous languages teacher, Michel Tomas, who up to now has been a bit of a hero in my house, is great for starting to speak a language you shouldn’t rely on him for. He teaches that you make sentences together by translating directly from one language to another, this just isn’t possible.

V Espanol Book

In Spanish, verb tenses are formed by changing the endings of verbs, a process known as conjugation. Present tense, imperfect, preterite, future, conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past perfect, the preterite perfect, future perfect and the conditional perfect conjugation. So, we should have that all under control by next week.

What I am learning from learning Spanish is how little I understand the English language. I must have missed out on the grammar lessons at my (don’t laugh) Grammar School because I don’t understand the terms, I am literally starting from scratch.

Anyone who has studied Spanish is aware of the troublesome relationship between the pretérito and imperfecto. The imperfecto (yo hablaba) translates to the English imperfect (I was talking) while the pretérito (yo hablé) literally translates to the English simple past (I talked) but can also be translated as the English present perfect (I have talked) or the emphatic past (I did talk). And when a person asks you in Spanish what you did before they will ask you using the present tense. (Example: “Desde cuando vives aqui ?” translates to “From when you live here?”) Confuso? Si. Thanks for asking.  

Of course I have been searching the internet for “easy ways to remember the different Spanish verb tenses”.  That brings up almost a million and a half results, so I guess there’s still some work to be done there. Hang on in there McLeod.

Have Lifepack, will travel.

Lifepack-founder-adrian-solgaard

What inspires an invention?  They say necessity is the mother of all invention. For Adrian Solgaard the tipping point for the creation of his new invention, a solar powered back pack, came when his friend was the victim of a crime. We met over Skype for a quick chat.

Vicki McLeod: How did this come to be? You’ve developed a solar powered, lockable back pack which can fit all of your day to day mobile office and work needs. That’s pretty amazing!

You can lock your bag up when you're out and about (1)

Adrian Solgaard: I first had the idea in 2005 when I was 18, I was travelling on a train and I needed to sleep. I was irritated by the idea that I had to wrap my luggage around me to prevent it from being stolen by thieves. But it wasn’t until 2015 when I was sitting with a friend having a drink, our bags where on the floor between our chairs and my friend’s bag was stolen, that it tipped me over the edge! I started to source and prototype ideas, contacted factories and worked on getting the product exactly right. When I had finished the prototype I started on “Real World Testing” and got a tonne of consumer feedback. Now we’re in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign.

VMC: Why a Kickstarter campaign? What is it?

AS: It’s a way to get pre-orders for the bag, it’s enabled us to gauge the reaction of the general public, and raise funds. It means that we will be in production this year with the bag as we have reached our initial goals.

VMC: Wow, that’s so exciting! So when can customers expect to have the bag in their hands?

AS: If you have pledged money on the Kickstarter campaign then you will have the bag in October.

VCM: How is the Kickstarter campaign going?

AS: Really well, we’ve met our targets, now we are doing what’s called “Stretch Goals” which means that we can unlock more options on the bag, by offering more colours for example. You can still order one.

VMC: What’s so special about the bag?

AS: We’re saying that we´ve reinvented the mobile office.

VMC: Big claim!

AS: Well, it’s got a solar power bank which can keep your phone alive via a USB charger, everyone’s phones run out of charge just at the crucial moment, but with this bag you won’t be stranded. You don’t have to worry about your smartphone battery dying, you can have it on charge in the bag. You can get up to 12 charges for an iPhone 6, but it’s compatible with any USB charging device.

You can charge your phone using the solar panels in the bag

It’s also got an integrated lock which means you can keep the bag locked up and keeps your stuff secure. The separate compartments inside the bag are for your work and life, so you can separate your work life from your underwear, nobody wants to get their socks out at a meeting do they?!

Lifepack, Cafe shot.

Then when you’re out at the beach you can use the Bluetooth speakers to play your music. The lock also has a bottle opener on it, which is helpful when you’re having a beer at the beach as well! The bag is weather resistant, and drop resistant (there are internal protective air cells to keep your laptop safe), and super organised. We’ve also designed it to have four hidden compartments so when you are travelling you can keep your important documents close to you and not worry about them being lost or stolen. The bag’s zippers are also lockable. And another feature is the RFID protected pockets which keeps your credit cards and passport safe from identity theft.

VMC: How much can you stuff in there then? I know I have to have at least three bags wherever I go! One for the gym, one for work and a handbag.

AS: Well I can pack two shirts, two pairs of underpants, two pairs of socks, a tie, a belt, shampoo and lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, cologne, a passport, sunglasses, swim shorts, goggles, the solar bank and speakers in the back, and a 15″ laptop, charger, mouse, two notebooks, three pens, headphones, my smart phone, glasses case, keys, wallet, loose change, USB charger and cables, loos papers, receipts, business cards and a banana in the front!

VMC: That more or less covers it! What about the kitchen sink? This isn’t the first time you’ve invented something useful is it?

AS: No, I’m also responsible for the Interlock which won four international design awards and has been distributed to twenty eight countries.  That experience has meant that I’ve been able to get the Lifepack to this stage much more efficiently. There are two other people in the team with me who are crucial as well, Ashley and Chris, so between the three of us we’ve done well.

VMC: What’s your connection to Majorca?

AS: I’ve lived on the island, right now I am travelling around a lot to get the Lifepack into production, but I hope I will be back soon. A lot of my friends who live in Majorca feature in the product promotional photos and we used Majorca as the location for the shoot.  Majorca’s the perfect place for a Lifepack, so many people blend work with life and are on the move, it makes perfect sense.

The bag has been designed to be part of an active, modern lifestyle

You can read more about Adrian and his invention at: sweetbackpackbro.com

To read more articles about Majorca visit http://www.mallorcamatters.com

Passion or poison?

Vamos Challengers!

What’s your passion, or your poison? What makes an interest in something healthy or harmful? I was a 20 a day smoker for twenty plus years, that’s pretty bad for you, we all know that. I stopped, finally, successfully four years ago. I would smoke a cigarette twenty times a day, damaging my body and affecting people around me. But strangely, it was hardly ever mentioned as being a problem. In fact I would find people who wanted to be my allies, in order to give them permission to smoke as well I guess, as if it was our ‘right’ to smoke.

Regular readers of my column will probably have noticed my ongoing interest in getting fitter and healthier, including my personal goal which I set three years ago that I would be able to do a handstand by the end of that year, I didn’t achieve it, I was so out of shape.

Strange then that if I decide to take up healthier pursuits that some people think they have the right to comment on it, suggesting in some way that my lifestyle choices are harmful to me. I’ve experimented with different types of diets, specifically a vegan diet for the whole of January, which garnered many comments. “Where will you get your protein from?”, “There’s nothing wrong with cow’s milk”, “Are you one of THOSE funny eaters?”. The reality is that aside from writing about it in these pages I didn’t really speak about it to anyone, and yet it seemed to inspire derision from some quarters. It took me some time to realise that actually these people were simply challenged by what I was doing, because they saw it as a reflection on them, rather than my simple decision to try something new.

Another thing I have been changing, which has become a passion for me, is the daily ritual I have of going to the Crossfit Mallorca ‘box’ (gym) in Santa Ponsa Son Bugadelles and training for an hour. First thing in the morning (by that I mean 6am, sorry postmen, I haven’t yet managed to get up at 3am) I get up and go to class. I’m there with a bunch of other earlybirds and our trainer, and owner of the box, Rob Martin. We do a variety of exercises, including squats, sit ups, press ups, rowing, running, weight lifting and more. Every day is different. The crucial thing that stays the same is the support and encouragement from Rob and the other members of the group. Some of the guys are super fit, and others are like me, over 40 and flabby. Well, not so flabby these days. I had to get some smaller sports clothes this week as the ones I had begun sliding down when I skipped! That was quite a day, but followed almost instantly by comments from well meaning people “Are you sure this is healthy for you?” “Do you think you should be training so often?” My answer is that it makes me feel happy and relaxed. So is that an obsession or a passion? You can’t win. Although I did do a handstand today for the first time. Finally. mallorcamatters.com

Events in Mallorca – March

Firstly, there is a collection being done by Antonia Triguero for refugees who are currently arriving on the Greek island of Kos. She has managed to get a shipping company in Inca to pay for a 40 foot container to be sent over there, and she has until this Friday to fill it! She is looking for: donations of: tents, sleeping bags, blankets (but not heavy), baby carriers, strollers, wheelchairs, comfortable walking shoes, socks, underwear, travel bags, raincoats, nappies, women’s sanitary towels and tampons, soap and shampoo (small 200 ml bottles), toothbrushes and toothpaste, sweatpants, summer hats, spring jackets, baby wipes and powdered milk.  If you check on the TRE website later there will be a list of the collection points in and around Inca and across Mallorca.

jumble

 

This Thursday is St Patrick’s Day and at Sanddancers Bar in Cala Bona you can join in their Annual “ST PADDIES PARTY NIGHT!” which is always a lot of fun, laughter, and I guess a few Guinnesses as well. There will be Irish music and free Irish hats for everyone.

Happy St Patricks Day

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Or you can popover to Heroes Bar in Portals where Hugh Carville will be organising his last quiz of the winter season.    Heroes-Logo  Quiz

 

logo-emblem Mood

mood-beach-club food

 

At Mood Beach there will be the Supper Club with speakers talking about Traditional Chinese Medicine, plus dinner will be available for 19.95 for two courses on Thursday evening at 7pm. You need to book in advance by emailing info@moodbeach.com

Saskia Griffiths Yoga - Mood Beach

 

 

If you like Deep House and Yoga then why not try experiencing both at the same time on Friday evening when Saskia Griffiths presents a two hour session, she describes it like a “yoga party”· It’s from 20.30 until 22.30 at the Zunray Yoga Studio in Palma.

On Saturday March 19th you can take in the sights and sounds of the Santa Margalida Agricultural Fair which kicks off the Spring fair season. There’s normally something for everybody from farm animals to displays of classic cars.

Pigs

On Sunday March 20th you can enjoy a great St Patrick’s Day festival in Santa Ponsa where there will be more than a hundred market stalls and a parade through the streets in the afternoon.

St_Patricks_Day_

Also on Sunday 20 March there will be a fundraising event at SPAP in Palma in support of some of their animal loving colleagues who have been fined for protesting about an upcoming bullfight on the island. That will start at 11am and go on until 4pm. There will be talks about animal welfare, a raffle, a market, a quiz, live music and vegan food on sale.

Bull       spap.jpg

Then we are into the Easter celebrations which are always quite amazing in Mallorca. If you want to entertain, or even scare, the kids a little, then take them along to the Fira del Ram funfair in Son Fusteret close to the Son Castello industrial estate in Palma. The funfair is open every day until Sunday April 10th.

Fira-del-Ram. Fair.JPG

If you like eating then pop along to the Street Food festival in Port Adriano during the weekend of the 25th, 26th and 27th of March. It’s on every afternoon from 5pm to late, you can eat yourself around the world and check out some rather cool looking food trucks and other vehicles as well.

STREET-FOOD-PORT-ADRIANO-8042-1280x853.jpg

On the Saturday of the same weekend, if you like nature, hiking and adventure sports then nip up to Escorca in Lluc for a day discovering businesses and like minded souls at the Nature Esport exhibition.

nature_sport_fair_ecorca

The Corner Bar in Palma is having an anniversary bash on Saturday 26th March. They’re also hosting speed interviews for wannabe crew. Super yaThe Corner Bar Palma.pngcht professionals will be returning to the Corner Bar to help them celebrate their anniversary and welcome new crew to Palma, helping them to find their feet here, offering support and advice in job hunting, training, and CVs.

Hook a Job                  Hook a Job                        Hook a Job

 

 

Also on Saturday March 26th local artist Vivian Borsoni will be exhibiting at her studio on Calle Fabrica 13b in Santa Catalina in Palma. She will be joined by another artist, Birgit Dierker. They are both very popular artists, and it’s well worth a visit. The show will open at 18.00.

Vivian Borsani - Artist - Calle Fabrica  Vivian Borsani - Artist - Canvas               birgitdierker  Birgit-Dierker-Diverses-Abstraktes

On Sunday March 20th there will be a Asociacion Ondine beach clean up at Playa Es Trenc from 11.30 until 15.00.  It’s organised with a Facebook group for Palma Yacht Crew, but everyone is encouraged to join in. In February 120 enthusiastic and environmentally responsible beach cleaners cleaned up the Eastern half of Playa de Es Trenc and collected more than 500 kilos of rubbish. It was a beautiful day out on the beach for everyone. So with the hugely positive experience freshly in mind, they will now attack the Western end of the beach this time leaving it completely free of plastics ! They will be meeting in Ses Covetes on the Western end of Playa d’Es Trenc at 11.30 hrs.

Asociacion Ondine beach clean up at Playa Es Trenc.jpgOne Table Four Conversations  ISLA Theatre Project

After finishing with the clean up, delicious baguettes with different toppings will be available for 5 Euros a piece as well as beers, sodas and water straight from the ice cooler. All proceeds will go to Asociacion Ondine. Don’t forget to bring with you heavy duty plastic bags, gloves, snacks, water and some money for lunch – and if you are brave; a swimsuit !

There are now two more dates for “One Table Four Conversations” which is the most recent ISLA Theatre Project that sold out on its first run. You can see the show on either March 24th or March 31st (both Thursdays) at 19h30 and 21h30 at Cafe
l’antiquari, just off Via Roma in Palma. The reservation hotline number is: 679518293

 

Helping hands needed.

 

Antonia with a refugee baby in Chios

I met a really wonderful lady last week, Antonia Triguero. She’s recently been to the island of Chios to deliver supplies and aid to Syrian and Afghani refugees who have been making their way to Europe in whatever way they can. She told me that the situation over there is pretty terrible, but as Spring comes and with it more people trying to make it to Europe despite there being more countries closing their borders to refugees it’s only going to get worse. Regardless of what your political sympathies are there is a genuine human disaster going on right on our doorstep.

Since returning she has managed to get a shipping company in Inca to pay for a 40 foot container to be sent over to Greece, and she has until this Friday March 18th to fill it! She is looking for: donations of: tents, sleeping bags, blankets (but not heavy), baby carriers, strollers, wheelchairs, comfortable walking shoes, socks, underwear, travel bags, raincoats, nappies, women’s sanitary towels and tampons, soap and shampoo (small 200 ml bottles), toothbrushes and toothpaste, sweatpants, summer hats, spring jackets, baby wipes and powdered milk.  

Giving out aid

Collection points where you can leave your donations are: Monkafe, Ca’n Rovira, Kidz, Cafe Polygon Mercantil, Polygon Bar, Cafe Es Cantó, The Paula Method (i Crist Rei Alcúdia), Ziving Inca Genestra, Bar Ca’n Tomeu Ca’n Joan White Kids, Paula Travel, Dilo (Avda. de Lluc), La Caixa (street Bisble Llompart) and Estheticians Inma.

Antonia said this to me, “I would like you imagine for a few seconds, one day it happens in Mallorca that you and your family have to put your whole life into a backpack and leave your country, your home, not knowing where you’ll end up, what will be your destination. People look at you with suspicion, as if you had rabies, when you all you want is to have a decent life. You lived happily in your town or city, but that circumstances beyond your person have forced you to leave or if you stayed you could die at any time. Reflect and be kind, bring your heart to the situation”.

There is no time to waste. Please take your donations as soon as you can or you can contact Antonia at trigueroartesanos@gmail.com

 

Better to know than not.

Steevi at The Adventure Rooms.jpg             The paperclip in action.jpg

It’s got to be said that Steevi Ware is an uncommon kind of guy. I first met him in 2014 when I went to interview him in Cala D’Or about the practice of “Prepping” (to be prepared in the eventuality of a crisis, or disaster, natural, manmade or other). I was amazed at his thoughtfulness and imagination. Last year he organised a free interesting and helpful course covering what to do when you are in trouble on a mountain, and this year he has designed a course dealing with techniques in how to cope and survive a hostage or terrorism situation. I met up with him recently to find out more.

VICKI MCLEOD: What’s inspired you to do this?

STEEVI WARE: Following what’s happened in Sydney, Paris, well all over the world really, I wanted to give people some reassurance and techniques. I’ve heard of people who aren’t going on holiday because they feel frightened of being involved in a terrorist attack. And that means the terrorists are winning. Terror will never go away. As they kill a few people they terrify millions. I’m not taking away that it’s a credible threat, but I want to try to help people to feel more capable and prepared.

VMC: So what’s going to be in the course?

SW: Firstly, I should say, I’m not an expert in this. I have zero credentials. I have never been kidnapped, aside from being made to go on shopping trips with my wife. I AM an expert in prepping and survival. Prepping puts everything into perspective, when you have a plan in place you feel more prepared for life. We’re going to cover things like escaping techniques: how to get out of handcuffs, cable tie wraps. duck tape. At the end of the day we all will have the same goal in mind, which is to survive what would be an awful situation. We will learn to decipher the difference between a terrorist incident and a hostage situation, how to react and what to do in a terrorist or active shooter incident, learn practical tactics on how to survive when cornered, self defence, and first aid for the wounded.

VMC: Do you think that it might get a frightening for the course attendants?

SW: If I do see someone struggling, or I notice any signs of trauma then of course I will make sure that person is okay. The course is 80% theory and 20% practice. The fact is that it’s better to have the knowledge and not need it, than need it and not know it. Like most things you would still need to practise everything on a regular basis to allow it to become second nature, as during a true survival situation the stress can account for a loss of around 50% of mental capability. Statistically speaking the chances of being involved in an car accident are 1 in 18,500 and being involved in a terrorist incident are 1 in 9,300,000 (9.3 million), and of being onboard a plane in a terrorist attack is in 1 in 25million.

VM: What do you want people to get out of the course?

SW: I want them to relinquish the fear. Everyone HAS fear, but I want them to feel confident that they would have the courage and knowledge to get out safe if the worst were to happen.

VMC: And these days you are now a member of the Proteccion Civil fulfilling the role of “Emergency First Responder”. That’s voluntary?

SW: Yes, 100% it’s a voluntary role. I did the course, and now I am able to respond to emergency calls at hotels for example. I was out several times last summer when people were in trouble. Often it is someone who has had a cardiac arrest in their hotel on holiday. We were at the 112 command centre in Marratxi recently and that was really interesting. They are very well prepared over there. They have a translation service so if you call and you can’t speak Spanish they are able to understand you very quickly.

Visiting the 112 centre (1).jpg

VM: Yes, I had a reason to call them once and as I was on the phone all of my Spanish just left me, but they were amazing and spoke to me in English. How would a reader go about becoming an Emergency First Responder if they wanted to?

SW: You need to contact your local council and ask about courses. The one in Cala D’Or only comes out now and again.  You need a basic level of Spanish to understand the course. But it’s preventative work as well: we go to cycle races, public events.

The team (1).jpg

VM: Why do you do all these good things you do?

SW: It’s my way of giving back to the community and to the island which has given me so much. I met my beautiful wife here, I have my children, and my business, this island has given me so many opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

There are only three places left on the “Terrorist and Hostage Survival Course” which will be held on March 13th in Cala D’Or, so if you wish to attend contact him asap on 679644909.  Thanks to the team at the Adventure Rooms in Can Valero for the use of the jail for the photo!

International Women’s Day

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Every year for the past five years I’ve organised an International Women’s Day celebration to mark the official day which is March 8th. This year it falls on a Tuesday. I want to invite businesses, organisations and individuals to come together to commemorate this important day. I also would love to see charities, associations and businesses run by women or for women. Would your organisation like to participate? We’ve had all sorts of different events, treats, speeches, workshops, lunches, emotional moments and flash mobs, what will happen this year?

The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation, like myself, may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements. IWD is an official holiday in many countries. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatrical performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honour IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally! Make everyday International Women’s Day.  Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. The theme this year is “Make It Happen”, can you help me make it happen this year? Please contact me at vicki@moodbeach.com if you can.

We’re all wonderwomen!

rsz_internationalwomensday-portrait

What are you doing on Tuesday March 8th? It’s a big day all around the world, a national holiday in some places, it’s ‘International Women’s Day’ a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s marked with events and parties, rallies, demonstrations, conferences and all sorts of gatherings in countries as diverse as Argentina, Belgium and China. The event started over a hundred years ago and was in support of the Suffragettes who campaigned for equal rights for women.  But this year the day will also mark a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

We’re pretty lucky in Europe. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have equal rights, and indeed can’t imagine what sort of person I would be if I had to mind my Ps and Qs and not do exactly what I wanted to when I wanted to. I am an equal to other people in the world and my daughter is equal, and I have some very feisty women to thank for securing those rights for me. But there are still millions of women around the world who don’t have this luxury; there are women who don’t have the chance for the same sort of free education as I benefitted from.

Over the past five years or so I have been involved in the organisation of fun IWD events at Mood Beach. This year I am organising an event on Tuesday March 8th at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes. Doors open at 11.00. There will be chances to meet new people, to get involved with charities, and to meet up with women’s groups from around the island. And there will be a market stall area for small businesses to sell their wares. At lunch time there will be speeches and a presentation to a person who has made a great contribution to the community…. who will it be? You will have to be there to find out! The whole day is 25€ per person (Welcome drink, 2 course lunch, glass of wine, table water and bread & butter, and it is per person, not per woman, as men are invited too of course!).  You should reserve (it’s important for us to know how many people are coming for lunch) now by emailing info@moodbeach.com or calling 971 676 456.

Milk at a depot in Mallorca   We are collecting food for the Mediterranea foodbank, so please bring with you something to add to the pile. Mood will match the donation so make sure you remember! They welcome donations of pasta, rice, milk, oil, bottled and canned goods, nappies, baby milk and basic toiletries, so bring whatever you can.  If you are business owner or if you run a charity or organisation then please get in touch as there are spaces for stalls, you can email me on vicki@moodbeach.com.  

Medditerranea

Come and join me, and other women, bring your mum, bring your daughter, bring your friends. It’s time. mallorcamatters.com