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

I am the walrus

Well, actually, this year I shall be a tortoise. It’s carnival time at La Gidg’s school and her class (and some of the parents) are dressing up as tortugas. Over the years we have been cows, cherries, Ecuadorian Indians and starfish. Don’t snigger, it’s important to me: one year I couldn’t make it to the carnival parade because I was working and another parent held my little girl’s hand as she marched around Port Andratx: I felt so left out, and such a bad parent, that I swore to never miss it again.

The costumes that we make have developed in complexity since the humble cow costume (which was essentially a bin bag with white splodges stuck on it). We were so disorganised one year that we forgot to buy the special hat that everyone was getting for their costumes and my husband stayed up all night constructing an appalling handmade hat (Gidg wore it proudly because her daddy had made it for her, but in retrospect, it looked pretty bad). Last year we had to collect ten plastic bottles per costume and then cut them out into star shapes (you had to be there to understand) and this year we are really going for it. We are full on turtles. ‘Mummy, I am going to be a ground tortuga like the ones in the forest, and you can be one of those GIANT ones from the Galapagos.’ Hmmm, yes darling.

So, off we trot to school with the other parents to cut out foam shell shapes and hats. There is some discussion about how to stick the foam together, and it’s not easy to understand tortoise making instructions when they are delivered in Catalan which are then translated into Castillano, and then misinterpreted in less than perfect Spanglish. It’s all a bit too Blue Peter for me, as I tend to go freestyle and off piste when it comes to painting: Pilar, La Gidg’s teacher, will painstakingly explain it to me, and I will nod sagely as if I am really listening, and then promptly forget everything I was told. So I need careful supervision. However what I tend to get is: ‘Mummy, NO! Pilar said we had to do it THIS way.’ You get the drift.

I am looking forward to our carnival parade though, despite what I might sound like. It’s yet another one of those Mallorcan events which is all the sweeter because it is still novel to me. I feel like an idiot walking down the streets dressed as fruit, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

(First published in the Euro Weekly News on February 25th 2011)

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.

  • ‘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
  • 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,

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.
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Fight for your rights

So, hang on a minute. Firstly there is a smoking ban which is the strictest across Europe, including banning smoking in bars and restaurants, school and hospital grounds. Apparently if you smoke in your car and there are children in your car you can get fined. But we already know that smoking kills. I get it. I understand it, I support the ban. I’m down with that, as they say.

But now it turns out that the sweets that were thrown at the Three Kings’ Parade in Palma could only be thrown from the floats if they were sugar-free. The Consell de Palma did a good thing by making the event more accessible to children with special needs: there was an opportunity for sight impaired kids to meet the Kings, and the hearing impaired had a sign language interpretation of the parade, and there was a special area for seriously ill children to watch the whole shebang from, but sweets? Banning sugar? No way. Surely that’s down to me, the parent?

You see I grew up around sugar, my mother worked for Cadburys Schweppes. My brothers and I would look forward to the when she would come home from work laden with goodies from the staff shop: reject chocolate biscuits, Fry’s Chocolate Cremes, Double Deckers. Chocolate was like the sixth food group in my family. But it wasn’t always around; it was something to look forward to. Then there was my grandma, a boiled sweet addict: pineapple cubes, Army and Navy, rhubarb and custard, all wrapped up in perfect paper bags, tucked into various pockets around her person, and you might just get lucky and be awarded with something or other. Sweets are a part of childhood, they are a treat. Yes, they make your teeth rot, and they make you fat, but there’s something naughty about them that kids love. And it’s down to me, the mummy, to regulate them, not the government.

What’s next? Is the state is going to take full responsibility for my child? Can I stop teaching her to look both ways before she crosses the road because there’s going to be a lollipop lady shadowing her every move? Wouldn’t be more sensible to think about the things which could actually harm our children at these public events? Such as the insane Nit de Focs, and the demonis who run through the crowds with lit fireworks, flaming torches and chainsaws? (Well, they do down our parts). Or, what about Sant Antoni, the Festival of the Animals? In Andratx horses gallop up the main road past babies in their prams. That’s pretty scary, not even the priest who is blessing the animals and their owners looks entirely confident as he’s being born down on by a snorting, over excited stallion. Now that’s something that could do with some thought.

It’s just plain silly to ban children from sweets, get a grip Consell de Palma. Forbidding sugar at the Three Kings’ Parade was a PR step too far.

published on

Fiesta frenzy – July 16th and onwards

July is an important month for my manor. Port Andratx is part of my local stomping ground, and the annual fiestas are almost upon us. The fiesta represents a major boom for the local cafes and restaurants, and if you want to attend and eat at a seafront restaurant on that night then my advice would be to book in advance to make sure you have a table.

The fiesta celebrates the Carmen – the virgin mary, and is closely connected to the sea. But this year, is there so much to give thanks for? The fishing industry in Mallorca is in crisis, fish stocks are low and fuel prices are through the roof. Nevertheless the fiesta will still take place.

In the early evening of July 16th, after Mass is heard, the figure of the Carmen is carried from the local church where she has been decorated with flowers by the wives of the local fishermen. She is paraded through the streets of the Port, down to the sea, carried by the pescadores. She is accompanied on her brief journey through the streets by a traditional band. Then she is placed on a fishing boat and goes out to sea. Once the boat has reached the mouth of the bay she is blessed by the priest. Lots of other boats go out as well, all decorated with flags and bunting, and normally skippered and crewed by groups of people who may well be on the outside of one too many G & T’s. It’s a bit like bumper cars, but floating as so many vessels make the short journey out.

Later in the evening there is a Carre Foc which translates as running with fire. It’s advisable to wear a long sleeved top and long trousers as you literally CAN run with fire. The streets are hung with fireworks which are lit as another group parade through the town, this time dressed as dimonis (devils). Kids love to do this, and parents hate watching. It’s not that dangerous as long as you keep your hair and skin covered up, honest. There’s also a large fair which is along the seafront with stalls, food, and kids’ attractions. I hope the fiesta brings great blessings from the Carmen, as the fishermen and their wives badly need some good news round here.

The Fiesta of the Carmen marks the highest point of the summer season for Port Andratx. From this point on, ’til the beginning of September, all of the bars are normally full to bursting in the evenings as it gets hotter and hotter and no one can sleep.

The next big fiesta round here is then the S’Arraco shindig which stretches over the course of three weekends in August. Free music and parties every weekend in the plaza in S’Arraco, and no sleep ’til breakfast.