Protesting-With no Bull!

It is a fairly well known fact that I'm not one of those ‘New Year, New You’ type of people, as the hulking pile of unopened self help books gathering dust in the far corners of my bookshelves will verify.

But despite myself, I have made a few small steps to becoming a better person in 2019. Before you all drop your morning Martinis in mirth, I must confess that I’m unlikely to have some ‘Road to Damascus’ style conversion, come over all Millennial and start knitting my own quinoa or some such.

But while the rest of Marbella was eagerly posting photos of their new gym kit and training regimes on Social Media, I did dust off and drag out the weights from a dark corner of the Casita and even indulged in a lung bursting blast of cardio by hauling my post Christmas battered body up the track that leads from the house to the Istan road.

A change of diet also occurred, as you can’t really get away with scoffing a handful of Quality Street for breakfast in mid January. I couldn’t resist posting a shot of myself in scruffy hoodie and red beanie training hat – a sort of ‘gym smurf’ look, if you will- though I did caption it ‘Narcissistic gym selfie alert’. And I also discovered that one of the added benefits of living in splendid isolation in the campo means that no one can hear your anguished screams and heavy breathing as you try and lift weights…

I also went on my first ever protest march. Even though I grew up in the UK in the 80s, I didn’t get involved in politics that much, apart from the obligatory CND badge in the Sixth Form, so avoided demonstrations for the Poll Tax, Miners’ Strike and Greenham Common. The announcement that Marbella Town Hall planned to bring back bullfighting, banned by the previous administration, angered several of my friends who, like me, couldn’t see how bullfighting is still pertinent to 21st century Spain. I’m not going to engage in the rights and wrongs of it, save to say that I’m right. And if replies on my Facebook page are to believed, I am a marked man in some quarters of La Cala.

The march itself passed off without incident, with a broad cross section of pierced and tattooed hardcore protesters, as well as families and foreign residents. But I must confess that my vocabulary let me down with chanting some of the slogans. There’s nothing worse than getting “La Tortura no es Cultura” wrong and shouting “La Tortuga no es Cultura”. A least I got a laugh from my fellow demonstrators. Nett time, I´ll just bring a whistle…

Photo. Talia Giraudo

Brexit: Spanish government’s new web resource for UK nationals

On January 14 the Spanish government launched a new, dedicated section on the Moncloa website to inform UK and Spanish citizens and businesses on how to prepare for when the UK leaves the EU.

The new site available in Spanish and English, and covers areas including residency, healthcare, voting rights and education.

The Spanish government message on the website is clear: UK citizens living in Spain for more than three months must ensure they are correctly registered with Extranjería (the Central Foreigners Register), to obtain a registration certificate that will be useful in either a deal or no-deal scenario. In the case of an exit with an agreement, the registration certificate will allow you to exercise your rights as set out under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The website also says that in the event of an exit without an agreement, the registration certificate will allow British citizens to continue to live in Spain and obtain any new documents required by the Spanish immigration system. For further information on residency visit the British Embassy's  Living In Guide.

British Ambassador Simon Manley said: “The launch of this new web resource is an important moment and underlines the shared desire of both the Spanish and British governments to ensure that citizens’ rights are protected. We welcome its arrival and the accompanying assurances by the Spanish government that UK nationals who have chosen to make their home here will have their rights respected. The UK government has constantly reassured EU citizens and their family members living in the UK that they are welcome to stay even in the event of a ‘no deal’. We welcome the fact that the Spanish government is making the same commitment to UK nationals in Spain. We will continue our discussions with our Spanish colleagues on the rights of UK citizens in Spain in order to ensure that all your concerns are addressed.”

The British Embassy and Consular network is continuing its programme of outreach events to prepare UK nationals in Spain for EU exit. To find an event visit

If there is not an event near you, they will be holding a live Q&A on the Brits in Spain Facebook page in the coming weeks and they also recommend signing up for alerts from the Living In Guide to ensure you are getting the latest, accurate information.

Monday Motivation: Ali Silver - Choosing foods that you really want

This post is all about so- called “healthy” food swaps. You know the sort...cauliflower rice,  ditching spaghetti in favour of spiralled veg and using ANYTHING other than white sugar (heaven forbid!) when it comes to baked goods.

Disclaimer before people get aggy: Of course some people do need to make swaps if they have an allergy or simply don’t like the taste of some foods.

So first up - the nature of these food swaps is that they vilify certain foods, because of the intrinsic fear of weight gain (usually masked as a ‘health concern’) This food is normally its a carbohydrate and normally it tastes great. This is powerful, creates huge food fear, and instant banishment from our diets. We know that this restricting leads to us feeling deprived of said food, and leads to ‘over-eating’ sooner or later. This is not a problem in itself but when combined with the phobia of gaining weight and feeling that sense of failure and shame then it is problematic. We vow to start again but be more vigilant. Repeat to fade.

The next concern with food swaps, is that the food we are swapping with is usually far less satisfying! When we feel dissatisfied with what we’re eating, we generally will feel hungry and continue to eat until we hit satiety.
Remember that time you made those alternative brownies with everything except white flour and sugar and ended up eating the whole tray? This is not uncommon! That brownie just might not have tasted as good as a regular brownie which was actually the one you wanted therefore it doesn’t hit that sweet spot.

And for those that argue about the health benefits from using dates or vegetables etc in their baking – yes they do contain more vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat a copious amount of these ingredients in your foods in order to see health benefits over time. “Health” also means obtaining pleasure from foods – not just nutrients.

If you genuinely enjoy the alternative version and it satisfies the craving your brain and your body needs then that is a great reason to eat it. If you’re doing it because you’re fearful of the authentic food or you’re concerned about the vets and mins, then I would suggest getting those nutrients elsewhere and eating the tasty spag bol that reminds you of your mum

Depriving ourselves of the authentic foods that we love, like pasta, cakes and other ‘forbidden foods’ never ends well, so why not start to tune in to what you’re really craving.

Once you realise no food is off limits you can learn to trust what your body wants to eat, and enjoy the freedom that that allows.

For more information

Hundreds march against Marbella bullfighting

Marbella showed its opposition to the planned return of bullfighting in a peaceful and well ordered protest yesterday.

Over 700 people took part in the march, that started at Marbella's Plaza del Toros and ended with speeches at the Plaza del Mar.

The current PP-OSP administration plans to reintroduce bullfighting as part of the refurbishment of the ageing bullring, despite a marked decrease in attendance, bans elsewhere in Spain and an outcry from the public.

Organised by the "Gladiators for Peace" group, politicians including Miguel Díaz and Victoria Morales (IU) and Lolo González and Victoria Mendiola (Podemos), were present, though the absence of any PSOE politician was notable.

Protestors, that included a number of foreign residents as well as activists from around Malaga province, chanted s "Abolish bullfighting" and "Torture is not Culture".

One of the leaders  Gladiators for Peace, Maria Labaig, has read a manifesto in Plaza del Mar, while several protesters, despite the cold, lay nalf naked on sheets stained with blood, symbolising injured bulls during a bullfight.

Labaig stressed that "Two years ago Marbella endedbullfights and the  PP now wants to change this. They want to invest a million euros to kill these poor animals."

"It is neither art nor culture."

To loud applause Labaig said "We are more than them and we will make noise. Marbella is an international, exemplary municipality and must be an environment free from animal abuse".

Advice ahead of bullfight demo

The organisers of  Saturday's demonstration against the return of bullfighting to Marbella have issued the following information ahead of tomorrow's protest.

"The march will begin on Saturday January 12, at 5pm at the Marbella Bullring.

The route is as follows: Leaving the Bull Ring in Calle Serenata, heading to Avenue Severo Ochoa, then Avenue Ricardo Soriano, Also Camino Jose Cela, the promenade and ending at the commercial centre Plaza del Mar, where we will read out our objections to the project of reopening the bullring as somewhere for live animals to be tortured.

As it will be evening please wear warm clothes, although we are walking, it is at procession pace, so comfy shoes and suitable clothing are a must!

Please remember that this march is a PEACEFUL protest. Many of us will have whistles, things to bang and generally make noise. But it is NOT a place to bring bad attitudes or worse. We refuse to let these rallies be put into disrepute because of badly behaved people. Sorry, but we cannot emphasise the word "peaceful" enough!

Please, feel free to bring banners, to have fake blood, to record and to share images. But especially bring vibrant, positive attitudes.
Between us all we WILL make a difference. We WILL make clear that bullfighting belongs in the  dark times, with slavery and other outdated "traditions and customs".

See you on Saturday!"

Cold snap warning

Wrap up warm, it's going to be cold tonight!

Weather warnings have been issued for much of the country, as a cold front is expected to arrive later today.

The weather front will bring freezing temperatures as well as rough seas and some strong winds.

In total some 28 provinces, including Catalonia, Murcia and Andalucia are expected to see temperatures fall well below freezing, and coastal areas to see waves of around 3 metres in height.

In the central part of the country, overnight temperatures could fall as low as -6C with Granada expecting -4C on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The perfect excuse to test out my new hot water bottle!

Monday Motivation: Ali Silver - 10 resolutions that are not based on changing your appearance

In her first column of 2019,  Ali Silver sets out some alternative New Year's Resolutions!

Whether you are partial to making New Year's resolutions or not, the start of a New Year always brings about a feeling of freshness; wanting to make improvements and put your best foot forward.

For many of us, and women in particular, this good intention gets warped into our view of our physical appearance. We’re not thin enough, fit enough, our bum is too big, this is too small and so on.

Changing our insides seems to only count when we change our outsides.
That’s why so many resolutions really link back to weight loss; humans are sneaky like that.

Want to practice mindfulness? Is it because you think it’ll make you thin?
How about your mate who is giving Veganuary a go. Is s/he doing it for the greater good? Maybe. Would they still be doing it if they thought it wouldn’t help towards weight loss? Maybe not.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m all about ditching diets, challenging stereotypes and generally embracing who you are – whatever your health, shape, gender.

So here are some resolutions this year which have nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with taking care of your mental and physical health.

Sleep more. Commit to some kip! People wear their lack of shut eye as a badge of honour these days, but I myself can not function with out a decent bit of rest. Getting a regular bedtime and wake up time gets your body into a rhythm and you’ll find that your quality of sleep improves.

Cut back on your screen time - the biggest reason being is that people who spend too much time on their phones are a real bore to be around. Sorry guys. If you’re someone who feels panicked when their phone isn’t attached to them then maybe this is something to address. Use an app to track how much time you spend on your phone. From that number, just cut down the time by a few minutes a week.

Stop flaking on people. Not a good trait, yet even the best of us do it sometimes. Having so much access to contacting people with out seeing this has made flaking out on plans much easier. If you say you’re going to meet someone, stick to it guys. It’s a horrible feeling being flaked upon, if you don’t want to go then refuse. If you say yes, then stick to it. Hold yourself accountable to what you say.

Assertiveness. People get assertiveness wrong a lot. They think it’s about being aggressive, it isn’t. It’s the different in asking “Can you close the window” and “Will you close the window”. It’s saying yes and meaning yes, or saying no and meaning no. Being assertive means you and the other person know exactly where you stand.

Find ways to move that don’t involve going to the gym. For many, gyms are synonymous with changing your outer appearance, with uncomfortable clothing and judgemental eyes. It’s not always fun, and sometimes the gym is a place of penance for what you’ve eaten or planning to eat. Movement is beneficial to your physical and mental health in so many ways that have nothing to do with burning calories. Find ways to move in a way you enjoy that don't involve the treadmill. Yoga, dancing in your pants in front of the TV, or going for a walk with your dog are all great ways to move your body.

Practice gratitude. You can thank my dad for this one, he’s all about gratitude being an action. Writing down 10 things a day that you’re grateful for, stopping to smell the roses, being able to enjoy the smaller things.

Cut back on alcohol. The only thing I’ll ever suggest you try and limit! Sure, a little is fine, but if you find that you cannot relax, be social or connect without alcohol then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with booze.

Cut back on social media. Constant scrolling on Instagram and Facebook can lead to social comparison, and the intrinsic need to measure your life against other people’s. Live your life based on how YOU feel, not on how cool it looks on your newsfeed.

Quit ‘fat talk’. Talking about the bits of your body which you hate with friends feels like a way of connecting and identifying, but studies show that just three  minutes of fat talk a day can decrease body satisfaction. Instead of alleviating negative body image, fat talk draws attention to parts of yourself that you dislike.

Make this the year that you choose YOU. Not what your friend is doing, or what a celeb is touting, but what you truly know is what you need. Maybe this year you need to be a little selfish and say no to some things. Maybe your mental health has taken a back seat and it’s time to talk to someone. Trust that you know best for your body.

For more information

Tyson's in Town!

'People's Champion' Tyson Fury is soaking up the Marbella sunshine this weekend.

The boxer, who lost a controversial points decision to Deontay Wilder last year, was spotted relaxing in La Sala Banus earlier today, as well as getting in a little light training with a morning run.

And as the photo shows, the Gypsy King was in a playful mood with some of the La Sala staff!

Photo. Facebook/La Sala Banus

Hoffy New Year!

Baywatch star David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff was in Marbella over the Festive Season.

The 66- year-old took time out and saw in the New Year with wife Haley at the Puente Romano Hotel, as well posting on Social Media and being snapped with Puente Romano PR and girl-about-town Kenza.

"The Hoff" has a busy 2019 lined up, with a tour of Germany and Austria and a new album coming out.

It's not known of the Hoff did a little casual life guarding on the Marbella beaches. We'll keep you posted...

Photo: Facebook/Kenza E. Carlson

Brexit Briefing for Marbella

With less than 100 days to go until the UK leaves the EU, the British Consulate in Andalucía is running a series of events for UK nationals on Living in Spain and Brexit.

The events are being organised in conjunction with Brexpats and local town halls.

British Consul Charmaine Arbouin and her team will update residents with the latest information on Brexit and what this means for UK nationals living in Spain. The Consular team will be joined by experts on a range of issues, including residency, registration, healthcare and pensions – so whether you have a specific question about living in Spain or simply want to know more about how Brexit might affect you, this is an excellent opportunity to voice your concerns.

British Consul Charmaine Arbouin said: "As we move closer to March 29, the consulate will continue with the outreach events that we have planned across Andalucía, updating citizens as and when we have more information.

"In the meantime, I continue to urge all UK nationals living in Spain to ensure you are correctly registered and stay up to date with the latest news, by signing up for email alerts and visiting the Living in Spain guide on and continuing to follow our Brits in Spain social media channels, including on Facebook.”

Advice for UK nationals living in Spain can be found at:

The Marbella event takes place at 6pm on January 10 at Marbella Town Hall