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Monday, 11 April 2016

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Top 8 Summer Music Festivals in Spain!

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Festivals in Spain are awesome, think music in the heat, dancing on the beach, clean toilets, reasonably priced tickets and buen rollo!! Here are my Top 8 festivals in Spain to start planning for. You can buy early bird tickets now so plan ahead for the Summer and book now!


1. SOS 4.8 1st-2nd May 2015, Murcia

Lineup: Metronomy, The Vaccines, Palma Violets... it's Hipster Heaven! Chilled, cool, buena onda! check out the spotify playlist here
Tickets: €43.99 or €69.99 for VIP access. Buy tickets here

SOS 4.8

2. Sonar, Barcelona 18th - 20th June 2015

Lineup: Chemical Brothers, Pxxr Gvng, Tourist!
Tickets: Early bird tickets until 19th January Sonar Pass (Day/Night) €165 or 2-Night ticket at €125 or €250 Premium ticket (Day/Night VIP ticket) Buy tickets here

3. BBK Live, Bilbao 9th-11th July

Lineup: Muse's only festival date in Spain, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Counting Crows, Arizona Baby amongst others !
Tickets: €121 or €129 with camping. Buy tickets here


4. Low Festival, Benidorm 24th-26th July 2015

Lineup: Kasabian, The Drums, Raveonettes, The Growlers... Indie GoGo!
Tickets: €53 normal tickets, €90 VIP tickets, €131 VIP pool tickets. Buy tickets here
 Low festival

5. FIB, Benicassim 16th -19th July 2015

Lineup: Prodigy, Public Enemy, Portishead, Florence and the Machine...
Tickets: 4-day pass inc. 8 days camping access for €130 or €85 extra for VIP pas. Until January 22nd from

6. Arenal Sound 28th July - 2nd August 2015

Lineup: La Roux, Vitalic Live, OK Go, Nacho Vegas, Citizens!
Beach festival, pool, camping...
Tickets: €40 6 day festival access (no camping), €57 or €95 with camping, €120 6 day VIP access + camping. Purchase here
 Arenal Sound

7. Azkena Rock Festival 19th-20th June 2015

Lineup: Eagles of Death Metal The Dubrovniks, Red Fang and ZZ Top - ROCK ON!
Tickets: €72 or €77 with camping until 25th Feb 2015. Buy tickets here

8. Primavera Sound 27th-30th May 2015, Barcelona

If you can't wait as long as June/July, the Barcelona based Primavera Sound's 2015 lineup has just been announced: Antony and the Johnsons, Babes in Toyland, Baxter Dury, The Black Keys, Caribou, Simian Mobile Disco, The Strokes and loads more!
Tickets: €185 until 4th May, then €195 from 5th May. €250 VIP ticket

 Soooo which will you pick?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Malakids! Madrid's Urban kids festival returns this weekend

This weekend Malakids festival is back in Madrid with an action packed calendar full of fun concerts, workshops and drop in sessions for kids around the Malasaña and Conde Duque area! Starting tomorrow I was looking forward to attending one of the first concerts Paulix and the ATTG kids but OH NO! It's pretty much sold out - a quick look at the seating plan reveals only a sprinkling of spare seats sadly none together anymore... and it was only €3 a ticket!! Oh man... you better move quickly with these events and reserve if you can! Here is our pick for the weekend:

Friday 26th September

5pm Felix the Magician! A very special magic show at bookstore Atticus Finch
Calle La Palma 78, Madrid  28004  FREE

6-7pm Paulix and the ATTG kids : Kids Rock N Roll! But only a few individual seats left, sit your kid down and you can dance on the sidelines! quick quick!
Calle Conde Duque 11 , Madrid  28015  €3

6-7pm Theatre: Las aventuras de Charly y Charla Two crazy siblings on an adventure to save their friends from a dragon...
Calle Amaniel 24, Madrid  28015 €4 and Saturday 12-1pm, 1.30-2.30pm

Saturday 27th September

11am-12pm Concert:  Shake Rattle and Roll! Madrid's favourite brit singer! On stage to delight tots and parents alike, get shaking!
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid  28004 FREE
11am-12.30pm Urban organic garden workshop Learn how to successfully grow your veg on your balcony :) Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid  28004  FREE  

11am-8pm Adelita Market KIDS. 2nd hand market... gotta love 'em! Catch a bargain quick!
Espíritu 23, Calle Espíritu Santo 23, Madrid 28004

12-1pm Musical Theatre: Malasaña a la Vista! A pirate musical adventure where children need to pass several musical challenges to help reach the treasure. 4-8 years old.
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid 28004 €6

12.30-1.45pm Concert: Cromatica Pistona Come discover this hip swingin' band from Madrid with balkan-style paso doble, tropical funk, beach ska-jazz and gypsy surf tunes! Yeeeah
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid 28004 FREE
6.30-7.30pm Concert: Susto y Disgusto DJs Crazy DJs dressed in animal suits? Yes please.
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid, Madrid 28004 FREE

Sunday 28th September
11am-12.30 Mask making workshop Make masks in the lovely Alva store for kids. 4-8 yrs
Calle San Andrés, 17, Madrid 28004 FREE but FULL

11.45am-12.30pm and 1-1.45pm Cadavér equisito workshop Picture consequences, Surrealist style! Two workshop times 4 years+
Espacio de Coworking El Patio Calle Pizarro, 24, Madrid 28004 €4

12.30-1.45pm Concert:  Petit Pop! Made up from a mix of Asturian indie group members ready to make you dance with your kids!
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid 28004 FREE

3-4pm Concert:  Hot Mosquitos Band from Segovia pitched for lovers of 70s music....
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid 28004 FREE 

6.30-8pm Concert:  El Cactus Madrid's vinyl spinners don't stop coming! End the festival dancing together to this super DJ set
Plaza del 2 de Mayo, Madrid 28004 FREE

See you there!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Madrid feels like small village that sits on a hill, surrounded by mountains that wakes up slowly in the chilly morning, neighbours throwing open their shutters, sounds of cheery morning conversation, gossip and coffee machines whirring away. Then you step out into the street and the hubbub of people, motos and tall buildings brings you back to reality, this is in fact the third largest city in Europe and we live right in the centre of it!

We've been here for a year and a half and honestly part of me found it a slight let-down and I wasn't a major fan... Madrid seemed a bit behind with the times - perhaps because there are a lot of elderly people where we live. At first it felt old fashioned, judgemental, a cookie cutter collection of people, overprotective parents in the playground continuously telling their child "you're too small for that" or "that's too difficult for you", uncompetitive businesses, rude customer service at large stores and generally not very eco-conscious. However this has turned around and I've learned to embrace my new home, the people and the city, which is in fact very cosmopolitan which plenty going on, has so much sun that I wince when I return to the grey skies of England, and full of thoughtful, rather crazy people.

It's difficult to kick that village image out of my head as there is a strong community spirit here and everyone walks slowly around the streets, filled with a presence where people enjoy their paseos without needing to go anywhere, just for their walks. I love bumping into people I know when out in the streets, and in the evening there are hundreds of people everywhere just walking, slowly.... It's rather endearing. People just stroll, talk and hang out in the streets which is awesome!

I have just got used to the madrileños looking at you as you walk - before this bothered me quite a lot - coming from London where people don't seem to look at each other as much - leave you alone and think to themselves. Now, I come to appreciate the act of looking right back into the eyes of passersby and working out what they're thinking and if they have a disaproving look of some sort (Young mother! Weird dresser! Short skirt! Dirty face baby! who knows...) Then I can calm it pronto by looking at them DEEPLY and they immediately look away. Arhggh I hated it first but now it's just very human and revealing. BUT even if I walk with my man, girls still look at him unapolagetically and this makes me MAD!! And hey, the girls here are pretty gorgeous - they all have amazing long healthy hair and super groomed which leaves me worrying about being too scruffy - but then I just think FUCK IT! (*Not so true now!)

Anyway. Madrid is FABULOUS for children and there are playgrounds at every plaza and even sprinkled along the main shopping street which is so useful! You see kids everywhere - sitting nicely with their families at terrazas, playing with the other children in the plazas. It's really cool. I noticed that spanish families tend to say 'No' more often to their kids and limit them a lot more than back home: "That's for older kids", "That's too difficult for you", "Not that way" instead of letting them find out alone and this was further confirmed in Leon's nursery (- which is lovely by the way with a big sandy playground- a rarity among the others I checked out.) and originally I was hesitant of this cultural difference that has upset many a grandparent in the playgound when they see how crazy my kids get with perhaps too much freedom. There are 3 big grassy parks in Madrid which the kids love and the Retiro park even has huge carp and ducks in the lake and turtles in another pond. I'll tell you more about Madrid for kids another time.

Fast forward maybe 5 months from when this has been in draft.... maybe I was harsh with Madrid at first. It really is a wonderful city with a lot going on, beautiful structures and spaces, kind, interesting, talkative people, who have a playful, childlike soul but are super tough in reality.

Metropolis building built 1910 by Fevrier brothers
Palacio Cibeles - Old Post Office turned city hall

El Palacio Real - largest palace in Europe!
Edificio Banesto el Palacio de la Equitativa
  Admiteddly it's December and it's been oh so long since I've blogged... but I hope to jump back into the rhythm again and keep a record of what we've been up to, places discovered, my babies' developments and thoughts on Madrid or wherever we are. We were lucky to return to Mexico again this year which was incredible exploring the Mayan ruins for the first time, and spending a lot of time at the beach in the Yucatan peninsula or swimming in the cenotes, and also enjoyed playing in the french countryside again and life away from the city. I've been home once this year without the babies, but we're all off to London for Christmas wahey! We've visted several regions in Spain, Segovia, San Sebastien, Burgos, Barcelona... which are each so distinct and wonderful in their own way and there's still plenty to see! We expect to stay two more years and I really want to make the most of it! Leon started school this September and seems to enjoy it a lot, Elias started nursery as well which was a big change but he took to it brilliantly, though now he's misbehaving a lot more.. ay ay ay!!

Here are my boys

Chilling at the pool (July)
Chilling in the Mountains (June)
Elias and his Papa at the playground

Leon in Malasana off to another playdate
Boys in Retiro park admiring the ducks

See you soon!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bye Bye Breastfeeding

So, it has come to an end - my bouncing little cherub of 7 and a half months is coming off the boob. I feel liberated but a bit sad that I may never breastfeed again - it's such a beautiful feeling to produce your baby's milk and satisfy their demands with your body. Their sounds of indulgent gulping throughout, and contented cooing after they've finished a feed - all produced by you. I loved how easy it was (after the first week's soreness hurdle) to feed my baby and not need to sterilise bottles and buy powder and have water ready at a time when Elias needed feeding the most often. Milk on tap, portable, warm and forever ready beat night-time formula prep and also gave me an extra hand free to pick up my coffee (it's OK during a feed!), browse online, stroke baby or fend off a toddler. Oh, and it gave me massive boobs for a while, which is such a change!

Although he's forever developing, I feel as though Elias has entered a new phase of mobility, exploration, and communication that ties in well with a severence of our special bond. I too, am entering a new phase of independence and freedom, allbeit due to my own disorganisation of not expressing milk or leaving my baby for too long. Most mothers balance breastfeeding well with normal life, my response was to just involve my baby with everything I did and everywhere I went, thanks largely to babywearing - but now I want to burst free and go out dancing, drinking, stay out late, largely because I can - but mainly because I miss it. (err I haven't yet but want to! On the hunt for a babysitter ;)

Gosh this sounds dramatic and life-changing but it's a just a new phase of so many others: he's commando crawling, loves holding our hands and going for a little walk, leading the weaning and I had almost forgotten how messy that gets! His night-time sleep is always interrupted by a need for 2 bottles which is frustrating and tells me he needs to eat more during the day, but this is part of our journey to make him a strong little boy and I'm happy knowing that I started it the best way I could.

Now, to wait for les boobs to settle and go underwear shopping!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Seven Months

I've just sat down with the laptop on my knee and after a fabulous morning at a pool party followed by a difficult afternoon I find respite watching the Madrid v Barcelona match with man and friend thus not having to move anywhere, but whipping out connection. Oh how I've drifted.

Elias is 7 months old, massively interested in food, having a disrupted sleep between travelling between Spain, France and the UK, and breastfeeding to bottle crossover, teething slightly but non bearing and confounding my expectations by travelling quelques metres and climbing up the side of the cot. He can stand.

He's so smiley and goodnatured, laughs and awed by Leon but sometimes fearful of his heavy hugs or threatening playtime.

Leon wishes he could play with him more but they're getting there. He's very protective of his little brother but then again, is also super protective of his toys, and mama. He's learning! He no longer wears nappies and has aced the toilet training. Some accidents at night but he's learnt so quickly. Leon can converse well in English and now French after his summer holiday in France and daddy's chitchat. After listening to the Olympics on the radio in French countryside he sang the Marseillaise. A week later, he'd interrupt my 'Rule Britannia' with La Marseillaise (God Save The Queen wasn't catchy enough), but since returning to London for a week, he sings it happily.

6 months at Laguepie
6 mois au Petit Pradel
6 months country bumpkin (outfit from Latte Mama do check out the Swedish Goodness!)

Cows coming (past our) home


Leon playing with his trains

Elias bubbles


I love Madrid, our new home, and meeting fun mamas locally and in Expat community but not as much on offer as London and although bursting with ideas and will, I feel a lack of tribe and confidence perhaps to kick into action. I need a night out but tommorow it will happen although I feel bad leaving the non-dormeurs.

But hey we're having a super summer and passing stages, saying goodbye to childhood homes, reigniting generation old family homes, seeing sisters grow up, seeing friends move up, seeing your babies develop and bloom. It's beautiful and emotional.

As for me, I bathed in the cool Aveyron river, jumped 50 metres off a Viaduct, ate like a country queen - sparking a love of Roquefort and reviving the family holidays of yesteryear into a different page and spreading over.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Tommee Tippee digital video monitor with movement sensor pad review-it's ace

We've never used a baby monitor before and, well never really needed one as our previous one bed flat was too small to warrant it. Leon had shared our room up to 15 months and then we got a comfy sofabed, collapsed our own bed and migrated to the living room separated by the kitchen. We'd hear the little prince if he needed us.

But, our new flat in Madrid is considerably larger, making it harder to hear little yelps, and requires running up and down a long corridor if checking on the babies- often waking them in the process...

So, the Tommee Tippee Digital Video Monitor has been a heaven sent piece of equipment for us! Not only can we check on 5 month old Elias and 2 and a half year old Leon from the comforts of our living room, it also alerts you should there be a lack of movement from the baby, helping relieve new parents' fears of SIDS thanks to the high tech sensor pad.
Tommee Tippee Digital Video Monitor with Movement Sensor Pad

Easy to set up, this is a brilliant, sleek monitor with super quality, colour visuals, night vision and zoom function: this is so cool as you can focus on your baby and even better if you have two kids as you can zoom in on each one.

You can even talk back to whoever won't sleep and tell them to knock it off!

Another great feature is that you can turn off the screen while keeping the sound on, which is handy. You can also opt to turn off the sound or have it very quiet- all combinations that we use. Great for showing off your baby to friends at night if he's quietly sleeping. (Just make sure you zoom back out again to reduce noise levels as it squeaks unnervingly if you take it into baby's room on full volume if he's crying.)

There are little lights that blink on if there's noise - but it's not very obvious and not too visible from afar (for when we're outside on the terrace and I can look in on the monitor through the door or if music is on...). The great thing is that you can unplug it from the power source and carry it with you.
Tommee Tippee Digital Video Monitor Parent Unit. So Clear!

I loved the function allowing you to respond to baby, calming him down with your soothing voice. Though I found it hard to know when he could hear me or not- a little experiment with my man sorted that out- and a read through the instructions put my mind at ease.

All the buttons are helpful and I found the nightlight function on the baby end very useful giving a lovely soft glow- adaptable with a slider or with the parent unit- and I found that if you placed it in front of a white background the light glowed further.

The movement sensor pad that is placed underneath baby's mattress is a good idea for young babies, sounding an alarm if it detects a lack of movement for 20 seconds- a drive to reduce SIDS, however I didn't feel the need to use this and personally felt it would make me worry more about it! But it's a good idea to link this to the baby monitor for parents concerned about their younger babies (after 5months they perhaps wriggle too much but it's a sizeable pad so some of Elias was always on it). When I tried it out I was impressed, however you need to remember to switch it off if picking baby up, and to bring parent monitor with you- things I forget at 4.30am thus provoking unnerving beeps!

Another great function is the temperature which now, summertime in Madrid can be above 37 celcius during daytime and still in 30s at night. Even if we're cool, the babies' room seems hotter but then it drops in the early morning so this reminds me to go check on windows etc.

I love that the parent monitor is so portable and the high quality of the video image even at night! Look!

Tommee Tippee Digital Video Monitor so clear even at night!

The digital quality is superb and there's no interference noise as I've heard with other friends' monitors. The whole set is super easy to set up- and I highly recommend it. You can buy it here for £199 and follow Tommee Tippee on Twitter @TommeeTippee_UK

*I was sent the product for the purpose of the review but am using it a lot and love it!