Tomorrow evening, Tuesday the 13th March there will be a “Mad for Mutts” Palma Dog Quiz Fundraiser. It starts at 7pm at The Boathouse in Palma. There will be loads of prizes on offer and it’s a big support for animals which need rehoming. DETAILS HERE: Mad For Mutts

On Thursday March 15th there will be a book launch for Samantha Meade-Newman Whittington, her first book “Rosamunda y las Montanas del Norte” will be  Biblioteca Can Sales in Placa Porta de Santa Catalina from 7pm.  Also that same evening Club Ultima Hora has organised a conference with Chris Sharma, a famous climber from California who will talk about sports climbing in Mallorca. The event is free and starts at 8pm at the Trui Theatre. You have to pick up an invitation from the Palau de la Premsa in Palma beforehand. DETAILS HERE

On Friday March 16th at 8pm you can join the Mood Singers for The Rhythm of Life concert in aid of Cala Nova Cancer Care. The event will be at the Anglican Church in Son Armadans Palma. Tickets are 10€ per person including a drink and nibbles.

Also on Friday evening it’s the opening night of Stereo in Magaluf, marking the beginning of their season. DETAILS HERE

From the 16th to the 18th of March you can try out the island’s best craft beers and live music at the Bierkonig Centre in S’Arenal.

On Saturday 17th March there will be a mindfulness workshop. Designed as an entry level to mindful meditation you will practice meditation, mindful waking and eating and talk about the health benefits. DETAILS HERE

On Saturday evening at MariSol Yoga in Placa del Progreso in Palma there will be a women’s circle event from 8pm to 9pm. It’s an open event and all women are invited to join.  DETAILS HERE

Sunday the 18th of March will feature the St Patrick’s Festival in Santa Ponca, there’s plenty of market stalls, entertainments, and the Guinness will be flowing!

On Wednesday 21st March there will be the grand opening of a new handmade ice cream shop in Palma, called Bo Bom Gelato. They will be offering “true” Gelato, gelato cakes, Italian hot chocolate, Easter Eggs, and freshly made Italian Easter cakes called Colomba, and plenty of Prosecco as well!  DETAILS HERE

Also on Wednesday 21st March from 10am to 1pm there will be a Spring Equinox inspired session, the Sacred Chant Awakening the Divine Femine. It will be at Peopletree in Alaro and led by yoga teacher Jeanne Lurie. It will include a gong deep relaxation session.

On the evening of the 21st of March you can catch the Moscow Ballet at Palma Auditorium performing Swan Lake.

On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of March there will be the Sheep and Goat fair in Calvia village. There’s always loads going on, including plenty of animals to go and see, pony rides for children, market stalls and plenty of fun and games.

On Saturday March 24th there will be a  Car Boot Sale at the BIC school in Magaluf from 1.30 to 4.30pm. Anyone who wants a pitch should contact the school in advance.  Also on the same day you can catch the Fiesta de la Primavera at Port Adriano, El Toro where they promise to offer loads of family friendly activities.

Also over the weekend of the 24th and 25th there is a theatre event called Spring In The Magic Forest. It’s aimed at kids and will be performed at the Palma Auditorium. The show is in Spanish and English and the kids will be invited up on to stage so make sure they wear their animal costumes. DETAILS HERE

Also on Saturday March 24th there will be a March For Our Lives event held in Palma. This is a protest in support of the kids and families in America who are marching all over the country on this day in an attempt to change the gun laws. The march organisers are asking for everyone to come and join them in the peaceful protest to send a message from across the world to the US government.  Meet in Plaza La Lonja at 10am, wear a white shirt with red or blue, bring friends, family, neighbours and anyone who cherishes peace and life.     DETAILS HERE

28th March art exhibition opening at the Century 21 Palm Beach offices in Paseo de Mallorca. The artist Sebastian Bispo will be showing his most recent works.

On Saturday 31st March the next edition of the Vegan Day Out will be hosted at the Son Alegre Vinyard in Calogne. It starts at 1pm and will feature live music, yoga, meditation, cooking workshops, an organic wine bar and more. DETAILS HERE

If you like fun fairs then you have until the 15th of April to go along to the Fira del Ram. It’s down beside the Son Castello industrial estate in Palma and is open every day.

Looking into April, there will be an training event for entrepreneurs on the 13th to the 15th April called Woha.  DETAILS HERE

A very long weekend

After what has been an extremely long weekend (normally that would be something to look forward to) I am relieved to think that perhaps all of the fires are out now and we can resume our normal lives. Last week I was telling you about the Nit de L’Art in my little village, s’Arracó which is in the Andratx area. Little did we know that the next day we would be hitting the headlines again for our own personal Nit de Foc (night of fire). After a sleepless night watching the hills which surround our village burning and then three more days of constant helicopter flights and Twitter updates with the fire spreading to St Elm and back up to Estellencs and over to the Galatzo estate some things have become very clear to me.


500 portions of salad
(No sign of a Big Mac though)

1) If you are going to have a natural disaster don’t worry about catering as the local people will literally bring crate upon crate of food until you are begging for them to stop. “No more bocadillos!” was one of the Twitter updates from our local council where the operations room was. We saw photos of mounds of fruit and vegetables, stacks and stacks of boxes of salad, buckets of bottled water.

2) Don’t believe anything unless you have seen it yourself or it has come from an official source. Really. Gossip spreads like wild fire (I know, couldn’t be helped), and is just speculation. It only frightens people more.

3) If you haven’t already been to the Sa Trapa area of St Elm and had a walk up there to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and views, well you’d better get in touch with http://www.gobmallorca.com the local environmental group here on our island which will be getting the rehabilitation project for the area underway in September. The area is stunning but has been severely damaged by the fire and now resembles the surface of the moon. You can visit their website and sign up to volunteer right there on the front page. The site is in Catalan but if you can’t read Catalan then view it through an internet browser that does instant translations and you will be fine.

4) Our local community has balls of steel. Everyone stuck together, offered help and stayed calm.

5) We are extremely lucky to have such amazing fire fighters, both on the ground and in the air. What an incredibly brave group of people.

Matthew Clark

Thank you. 

6) The guy who started the fire by accident did so by disposing of smouldering embers from the previous night’s bbq. It was not a German resident burning stubble in his garden. (see point number 2).

For now, let’s appreciate and care for what we have been blessed to live amongst, please don’t throw cigarette ends out of your car, don’t burn rubbish in your back garden and don’t leave a BBQ unattended. It really can happen, just like that, and don’t we all know it now.

Stay safe. Vx

(P.S. I’ll tell you about the Night of Art and the “peg crisis”, and the Stand Up Comedy course, Wendy, brown trousers and performances next time).  

P.P.S. Thank you to Matthew Clark for the amazing photo of the airborne firefighters.

Sing like you’re winning

‘The only thing better than singing is more singing,” said Ella Fitzgerald. I’ve got to say that I agree with her, I’ve always sang: in the car, in the shower, occasionally on a stage, mostly to myself, but since being a grown up I’ve never had the chance to sing in a choir. So I am filled with anticipation and excitement about this coming weekend as at 11am on Saturday October 20th we will have the first meeting of the newly formed Mallorca Community Choir. I think that being part of a gang, a group, a choir looks like a lot of fun. It promises to be a really uplifting experience, and I think there’s a few of us that could do with something to lift our spirits over the winter.  So why not give it a go? Absolutely everyone is welcome to come and see what it is all about. No experience is needed, and if you think you can’t sing prepare to surprise yourself as you will improve as you practice.

The choir leader, Emma Sweeney, has just moved to the island and is ready and eager to start. The choir won’t be expensive, the rehearsal space is being donated by Mood Beach Bar and Restaurant, and the subscriptions will be literally to cover the cost of buying sheet music and any other expenses that a choir might incur. The first meeting will be an informal get together to see how many people may be interested to join and to get to know each other. The meeting will be at Mood Beach Bar & Restaurant, Ctra Km 11 Palma – Andratx, Costa D’en Blanes. To help you orientate yourself: Mood is between Marineland and Sporting Tennis Club.

But what about you, does the idea of singing fill you with joy or dread? Did you know that singing is good for you?

Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, has studied developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years: “The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological. Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.” Seriously, what’s not to like?

You can contact the choir leader Emma through http://www.mallorcatutors.com or just turn up this Saturday at 11am at Mood.

Sick notes

We have been besieged again with illness. But this time it’s not just us. Evil flu and cold bugs have been spreading around the island. Amazingly, only the women in our house have been affected. La Gidg and I were struck on Saturday afternoon. I think I prematurely sent her back to school on Tuesday as when I picked her up from school she still looked game, but no, within three minutes she was conked out on the back seat. Bad mummy.

It’s pretty normal isn’t it to have to work through illness, especially if you work online, or make yourself available to people to contact you online. Many of my messages in the past three days have read ‘Hi Vicki, sorry that you aren’t very well, could you just do this thing for me….’.  It’s only the click of a mouse after all, right? So I guess I only have myself to blame.  So instead of getting annoyed with myself for not taking some time off to get better faster I asked my Facebook friends for their cures for the common cold. Some of them are pretty sensible, some of them sound pretty unpleasant, but each of them apparently works…. it’s up to you if you try them!

There were plenty of votes for whisky, honey and lemon. Victoria Davis said ‘it won’t cure you but you’ll sleep!’ Natalie Jackson’s dad always went for alcohol and vitamin C although she goes for the more sensible Lemsip.

Quite a few went for garlic.  Belinda Shaw’s granddad used to put cloves of garlic into a bottle of whisky. Garlic, which contains a ­chemical called allicin, can zap the cold viruses that lead to infection.

There were also a lot of votes for cayenne pepper and other spices. Lord Martyn Rose chomps on hot chilli peppers and gets himself around a good curry, he swears by them. Another friend, Alison Garbutt, stands by honey with ground cinnamon. She said she’s been using it every day for over a year and hasn’t had any colds or flu. Certain spices have been found to be beneficial bug fighters, including cayenne pepper, which contains an active ingredient called capsaicin that beats congestion by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe more easily.

Lisa Bonner came up with an unusual one, which I think is a variation on the German ‘wear wet socks’ idea for coughs. She told me to put Vick’s Vapour Rub on my feet and put socks on as it stopped coughs immediately!

You might also want to get stuck into some chicken soup which Selena Garfield said was ‘like Jewish penicillin’.

My more sensible friend, and the only one actually qualified to comment as she is a nurse, Sally Luxmore, said ‘night and day nurse! The old saying is treat a cold and it will last two weeks, let it run its course and it will take a fortnight’. Sage advice there, basically she’s saying there’s nothing you can do. Just drink lots of fluids, get indoors, keep warm, and find someone to supply you with plenty of cups of tea.

If you’re up to it now might be a good time to go and check on any neighbours you have that are elderly, just pop in and say hello. If they’re feeling under the weather they might need a bit of support, so don’t forget to do your good deed!


By Vicki McLeod

Published in the Euro Weekly News 23rd Feb 2012



No snappy title this week, or clever things to say: I heard on Tuesday morning that little Ellie  Wilkinson had passed away overnight, after two and a half years battling a mitochondrial disease. She wasn’t quite four years old, and yet during her short life she had an enormous impact on the community here in Mallorca.

We took this little girl and her family into our hearts, and it’s no surprise that many people are feeling very emotional at the moment, myself included.

I wonder if we are all experiencing a mixture of feelings?  I feel sadness for her family, relief that Ellie isn’t in pain anymore, love for my own kin, gratitude that my little girl is healthy, and frustration that I couldn’t do more to help. But I just can’t contemplate how Ellie’s parents, Candice and Jason, are feeling at the moment. I wouldn’t know where to start.

Where can we find some comfort? I don’t know much about going to heaven and angels, I won’t speculate about that, but I do know about the influence that little girl had on our community. We’re a funny bunch normally, we have our spats and fall outs, just like one big hulking ugly family really. But many of us were inspired by her. Children shouldn’t have to experience pain and Ellie had to deal with a lot of physical pain in her short life. Who wouldn’t want to try to alleviate that? So, we joined together to help. And in doing so we were also able to find a way to cope with our feelings about the tragedy of her situation: we felt that we were doing something useful. Fundraising, raising awareness, contributing to a raffle, praying, sitting with her overnight to give her parents a rest, helping out at her home, we all tried to help in our own individual way.

We’re simple creatures really; we look for reasons as to why things have happened, to give them some meaning, to finesse an explanation where perhaps there really isn’t one. We want life to be fair, but it turns out that it isn’t. Is there something, a legacy, that Ellie will leave behind? What has she taught me? To try to be humble, to be more grateful, to see the funny side in things as frequently as possible. She’s reminded me that life is precious, and short. What about you? Whatever you are doing with your life, are you doing your absolute best? Make an effort for Ellie’s sake, to live your life to its fullest potential because she didn’t get the opportunity to.

Ellie’s funeral is at 10am in Calvia on Saturday, her parents don’t want anyone to wear black. Such a sad colour. I can imagine there will be a lot of people at the service, all wearing a dash of lilac:  Ellie’s favourite.

I hope the sun makes a special effort and shines extra brightly that morning.


Published in the http://www.euroweeklynews.com on 27th January 2011


There is a collection for  funds to give to this remarkable family to try and ease some of the stress from them – heartbreaking times ahead, without having to worry about the financial burden of it all. If you would like to donate something then please do. You can make a bank transfer to the details below.

Contact & Donation Details:

Direct Transfers to Ellie’s Fund:


Numero de Identificacion Bancaria (NIB): 0216 6918 480707046371
Internacional Banking Account Number (IBAN): ES22 0216 6918 4807 0704 6371
Bank Identification Code (BIC): POHIESMM

Or leave a message here if you want to donate in another way.

Our favourite free (or nearly free) family fun places in Mallorca

Our favourite free (or nearly free) family fun places in Mallorca

(as suggested by my Facebook friends today, in no particular order)

Cooler weather

  • ‘Walking to the top of the mountain where the Castillo of Alaro and end up in the restaurant munching lamb 🙂 Kids love it, we love it!’  (Benedicte Enbom Crofts)

Alaro Castle, is on top of the mountain of the same name. It is an ancient fort which has been in existence since the Muslim era. Alaro Castle was famously the only place in Mallorca not to fall to the invasion of the Moors when they invaded in the thirteenth century. These days it is a very popular walk. You reach the mountain, drive to Alaro and, towards the town of Orient, take the road leading signposted to Es Verger, where there is a restaurant and a parking area, There is an hostel at the top of the mountain where it is possible to stay the night if you want to have an adventure! More information and bookings on 971 182 112 Alternatively you can descend back to the car park and Es Verger which is famous for its lamb. www.mallorcaweb.com/reportajes/castillos-y-torres/castillo-de-alaro

  • ‘The fabulous playground by the cemetery in Palma (Puigpunyent exit) – the one which looks like a massive castle. Hours of fun….’ (BEC) (We think it’s called Ses Estaciones, but we might be wrong. See the map).
  • ‘Walking from Caimari to Lluch. Those that don’t want to walk, drive up with the paella pan and contents. Nothing better than arriving at the BBQ spot and finding hot food!’(Kay Newton http://www.SensiblySelfish.com)
  • Roller blading on the many paths we are so lucky to have here (BEC)
  • Giants, fireworks, dimonis – lots associated with fiesta, especially in smaller towns and villages, where families rule. Select according to age of kids. (Mike Goggin, www.mymallorcainfo.com)

Warmer weather ideas

  • Es Capdella swimming pool. Free to use, and has a great playground as well. Excellent and cheap menu del dia place as well – check it out at lunchtime during the week for the best deals. (Vicki McLeod)

  • Portals Vells beach – excellent for kids and nice beach restaurant (BEC)
  • Watching the boys surf at Son Serra de Marina from the bar terrace! (KN)
  • Camping at Lluc. (Nicky Tennant Brown)
  • Snorkeling in the dark at St Elm beach with under water torches! Fab! (NTB) (I’m really into this idea! Can’t wait for the summer to do it!)
  • The monastry in Valledemossa (Gaynor Riopedre)
  • Scuba diving at El Toro and the Malgrats (GB)

‘I don’t think I have ever lived in a place that offers so many fun things to do for families – both free and paying. The nature is fabulous and a good thing to get kids to enjoy from an early age and there are some great paying activities because of the tourist industry as well. How lucky we are!’ Benedicte, thanks for that!

Thanks to my Facebook friends for their suggestions! If you have a suggestion please leave a comment for everyone to see.
You can find me on fb at www.facebook.com/vicki.mcleod


It’s that time of year when Mallorca residents find themselves extremely popular with people they haven’t heard from all year. The UK school summer holidays are upon us, and so are hordes of visitors.

Even Casa McLeod is preparing for VIPs this week: we’re not all that popular as a holiday destination given the ‘unique fixer upper opportunity’ status of our house, and our inability to stay in contact with our friends in the UK, so this is quite an unusual situation. My friend, Deborah, and her two children are coming to stay for a week and my family is on red alert. We have all been practising washing things up AND putting them away, not walking around in just our pants (well, it is hot now) and putting dirty clothes into the washing basket. It’s all looking good. I just hope we can keep it up for their entire stay.  I haven’t seen her in 17 years you see, and I want to have a wonderful time catching up with a very important girlfriend from way back when without worrying about my family’s lazy housekeeping techniques.  I’m not sure that should overly concern me, as if I remember rightly she was even more of a sloven than I was when we lived together many moons ago.

Benjamin Franklin said ‘Visitors are like fish, they should go off after three days’, and it’s certainly true that extended visits can stretch friendships to the limit. But some of us don’t have that option, I’m thinking about those family visits. You love them, but living cheek by jowl tends to expose tensions and different opinions on lifestyle that aren’t a problem when you are far apart from each other. It’s a delicate subject, and a sensible approach in my opinion is always to plan for some ‘alone time’ during the visit to decompress rather than let a brewing row escalate into something you can’t undo. Easier said than done though, I know well enough.

Cleverly my husband and I have managed to have our rows before our visitors arrive: in our efforts to prepare for them we have been attempting a few DIY activities. The by-products of some new shelving, an outside plug socket and a new garden bench were a contused middle toe, a big hole through the top of the washing machine and an extended grumpy fit on the hottest day so far this summer. It wasn’t pretty, but the shelves look good.

So now all that is left to do is do a ‘big shop’ before one of my oldest friends arrives, fish isn’t on the menu.

(first published 3 August 2010)



The littlest hobo of toy town

We’ve lost Leo.

He was the first toy that we ever bought for our daughter, Gigi. She’s cuddled him, carried him around, fed him biscuits, dressed him up in her favourite princess outfit, introduced him to strangers, been photographed with him endlessly, and slept with him every day since she was born, twiddling his stupidly long ears as she drifted off. He’s a sad looking character, bought in the second hand shop in Andratx for the paltry sum of a euro back when I was heavily pregnant and we were shopping for cheap baby stuff to get ready for the big event. People couldn’t really decide what he was: a teddy with unnaturally elongated ears, a rabbit? No, he’s her perrito. And he’s gone. Muneça down, missing in action.

I’m devastated. I still have my first toy, a (now) three legged lamb, missing vital parts of its anatomy, and fur, and I always imagined Gidg would keep Leo forever as a reminder of her childhood.

My husband, Ollie, and I have recreated the scene: we last remember Gigi having him at the Port Andratx ice cream parlour, where Gigi always, without fail, has the strawberry sorbet because it looks the most exciting, and then makes sure that she also gets to eat everyone else’s icecreams as well. We’ve turned out both cars in the hope he’ll be lurking underneath. We’ve postered the Port, with a heartrending image of the odd little stuffed dog. Nothing. I find myself peering into building sites, and dark corners of car parks hoping to catch a glimpse of a long brown ear or his dirty beige fur. (I can’t tell you how embarassing it is when your child’s favourite toy is constantly the colour of an unwashed floor, or the intrigues and trickeries it took to magic him away from her for long enough to get him in and out of the washing machine for a quick spruce up).

If there were only a Missing Stuffed Toy helpline we could leave our details with; perhaps he’s tried to contact us and can’t get home.

In the course of beginning to write this first post in ages I did what I always do: find a hundred other things to do first whilst trying to conjure up the right words to use. In this case it involved completely reorganising the upstairs of my house. I searched high and low for any sign of Leo. Every cupboard was emptied, every piece of furniture moved, so I have contributed to the major jigsaw and plastic toy mess that now awaits me for the next time I have to write something.

But the displacement activity (a.k.a. completely unecessary but very satisfying house doctoring) served to remind me that I shouldn’t own white soft furnishings. You know how it goes, ‘It’s sunny, we live in Mallorca, let’s throw some white rugs on the floor and white covers on the sofas to really let the house look light and funky’. But less than a day later, they’re all that greyish colour and are begging to go in the wash.

I don’t know why I bothered really.

The reality is that we have two cats, two dogs, an (almost) three year old, and live in a dust bowl: S’Arracò – drive through it, blink and you’ve missed it. But live in it, and it lives with you, in your house, great dustpan fulls of it. There’s more of S’Arracó in my house than there is outside. It is a Mallorquin housewife’s nightmare, and is why all of my neighbours religiously sweep the steps and pavements outside of their homes every morning whilst I am running to my car with a child loudly disagreeing with me under one arm, wishing I had one of those politely obedient Spanish children which does what she is told and is never late for nursery.

The thing is Gidg hasn’t really noticed Leo’s gone, except when she sees a photograph of him, and then longingly repeats his name, which is heartbreaking. She has a stable of underused teddies, dolls, giraffes, monkeys, she’s even got a polar bear; and they are now all getting their share of affection and taking turns at being her bedtime companion as we read yet again The Tiger Who Came To Tea´. Perhaps it’s just as well that Leo is no longer around, as Gigi is due to start at the local school next week, and under no circumstances are the children allowed to bring sentimental objects of fake fur with them.

But I haven’t quite relinquished the search, I’m not ready to let go of her first toy, I’ve even scoured the back garden, as one of our dogs has taken to stealing teddies and running away to hide and devour them. I’ve looked under the spikiest of bushes, and heaviest of building materials, which are biding their time in the garden for that great day when we have the money, time and energy to start the home improvements.

I guess it’s our first real rite of passage as a family, yes I know that cutting teeth, learning to walk, the first words, are all major moments in a child’s development. But learning the lesson to let go, and that, especially on the island of Mallorca where people come and go, arrive and leave through the seasons, that sometimes friends move on, is a difficult one, whatever age you are.

I’ve comforted myself with the idea that Leo is the stuffed toy equivalent of the dog from the 80’s TV show ‘The Littlest Hobo’, this friendly creature would come and stay for a while, sort out a family and its problems and then move on to his next good deed.

So whereever you are Leo, good luck, keep your ears clean, and thank you for the memories.