J-Lo to play the coast!

Let's get Loud. Jennifer Lopez is set to play Fuengirola next month!

I know that the above is most unlikely sentence that I have ever written for Planet Marbella, but yesterday Maresnostrum Fuengirola confirmed that Jennifer Lopez will play on August 8 as part of her worldwide tour 'It's My Party: The Live Celebration'.

Promising an unrivaled combination of her new and classic songs, spectacular choreography, dazzling costumes, amazing technology and "all the glamor of Jennifer, plus a surprise factor for all your fans" , tickets for the concert, her only one in Spain this year, go on sale at 16.00 on Monday July 15 https://marenostrumfuengirola.com/concierto/jennifer-lopez/

Traffic police target App users

You can spot them on the road a mile away, usually because they are drifting obliviously into your lane or are slow away from the traffic lights.

Drivers who use messaging apps – such as WhatsApp – when behind the wheel, are to be targeted in a new campaign launched this week by the DGT.

Head of the DGT, Pere Navarro, launched the campaign this week, revealing data that shows 32% of all fatal accidents on the nation’s roads were down to the driver being distracted.

Last year over 104,000 people were stopped by Guardia Civil for using a mobile behind the wheel. The punishment is a €200 fine and three points on your licence.

By the way, here are some other driving laws you may not be aware of Watch out for these driving laws!

So here's a piece of advice. If you feel the need to WhatsApp. Tweet, or check in on Facebook - pull over, stop the car and text away. Rather than the fool I saw texting while negociating the Mercadona roundabout in Nueva Andalucia last month. On his Vespa...

Marbella's Big Clean Up

It may be a celebration of purity and new beginnings, but the day after San Juan has become synonymous with the rubbish left by revellers

This year Marbella Town Hall reported that they removed 11 tons of rubbish from the beaches yesterday, left by the thousands that flocked to the events organised by the Town Hall. Although this is four tonnes less than  the previous year, it is still a depressing amount considering that marine pollution is now a high profile global issue.

As well as the traditional bonfires on the beach,  El Cable featured a live performance of  Los Calvin and DJ Pakkito 2000, while  La Salida in San Pedro Alcántara held the Holi Colors festival, with Miguel Campello, singer of 'El bicho' and local artists We are not dj's performing.

Troll Hunting...

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about keyboard warriors  - the kind of person who is quite happy start an argument or fling an insult at you for something you write or post on Social Media. They also tend to use language and attitudes that they would never dare use if they were in the same room as the person they are attacking. It’s called Trolling.

Having worked in Media in one form or another for over three
decades, I’m used to getting a bit of flack. ‘If you can’t take it, don’t dish
it out’ tends to be my mantra. I was once called a ‘Bald B****stard’ on Central
Night Live TV (which made Davina McCall laugh) and have been accused of being a
dictator on my own radio shows. (I like to think I’m a benign one, by the way).
It comes with the territory.

What I won’t stand for, however, are attacks on family. In
my last column, I wrote about my beautiful and talented Goddaughter, Ziggy, who
had performed her first gig in Spain. Ziggy’s mum, Tiffany, was my best friend and
tragically died of cancer was she was only 29. Ziggy was two-and-a-half. The
family moved to Australia and I lost touch, until Ziggy found me on Facebook
and we met In London six years ago.

As her mum’s best friend, I’ve been able to tell Ziggy about
her and, because Tiffany spent a lot of time in Spain, I can take her to places
that her mum and I used to hang out in. I don’t have children, so my
Goddaughters – I have three – are the closest thing I get to that, and my
relationship with Ziggy is an integral part of my life.

The piece was all about being a proud Padrino, plus describing the outfits she wore for her Burlesque show. Ziggy is 22, by the way. I sent it to her before it went to Press, she loved it, and I posted it on Social Media.https://www.planetmarbella.com/burlesque-business/

And that’s when the Troll struck. A certain, Ceri Jones
Harrison, who I have never met, wrote in the comments “Your
goddaughter??? Should you really make comments such as applying nipple tassels
just for you or that you didn’t look like a normal ex pat couple .....don’t
like the underlying tones in your report . You really need to reread before
posting as it appears you are either in a relationship with her or fantasize
about . Both are quite perverted”

In case you didn’t know, I’m a Celt. My
Dad is Welsh and Mum was born in Glasgow. And I have to admit, at that moment,
I went off the scale, as a supercharged combination of the Pontypool  front row and The Black Watch coursed through
veins. I fought back the urge to go full Liam Neeson ‘I don’t know who you are
but I will find you etc.’ and replied

‘Thank you for your reply. I can assure
you that I am not in a relationship or fantasize about Ziggy. In fact, I will
be acting as celebrant at her wedding this year. I suggest it is you who is
quite perverted.’

‘Quite a sizzling backhand down the
line’ I thought to myself, somewhat smugly.

‘Professional arsehole ..... you need
to re read your article’, came the Trollish reply.

‘Professional arsehole’. Well that’s
certainly a new one and, let’s be honest - only one of us in this conversation
was getting paid.

‘Duck it’ I thought (not my actual
words) as I hit the share button and unleashed my followers on her. The
reaction sent her scurrying back under her cyber stone. I grabbed the phone and
called my long suffering Swedish/Cuban friend, who is also mother to another of
my Goddaughters. She’s used to my strange requests and, having Scandinavian
heritage, is well versed in all sorts of Nordic customs.

“Sorry to bother you, Bambini… Do you
have any Swedish Traditional Troll hunting equipment over there?”

“I’ll call my mother. She’s bound to
have something in the Finca” she replied, completely unfazed. As I said, she’s
known me a long time.

Well, now that ‘Game of Thrones’ is
over, I have to do something with my spare time, and Troll Hunter’ does have a
certain ring to it…

Former US President visited Marbella for less than three hours

Barack Breezes In

Former U.S. President Barack Obama paid Marbella a fleeting visit on Friday.

Obama addressed a private conference of German tech giant SAP that was  held at the Hotel Puente Romano.

After landing at Malaga airport at 4pm with wife Michelle and his daughters, who waited in a nearby hotel, Obama was whisked to Marbella in a private convoy supported by vehicles of the National Police and Civil Guard.

Obama arrived at the Hotel Puente Romano just before 5pm, where he delivered his speech. Those outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the former world leader, however, were left disappointed as Obama headed back to Malaga at 7pm.

Hotel staff were apparently instructed not to take images or videos of Obama at the event, and the former U.S. President didn't have time to meet local dignatories, although Marbella mayor  Ángeles Muñoz tweeted that "Marbella was once again a meeting point for influential persons such as Barack Obama".

It was not the first time an Obama has visited Marbella. Back in 2010, then First Lady Michelle Obama spent several days here, and was photographed shopping in the Old Town.

Marbella - Spain’s Food Capital in 2020?

Marbella Town Hall has underlined the city’s growing reputation as a gourmet destination with the announcement that aims to be crowned Spanish Capital of Gastronomy in 2020.

The award, which is decided by the Spanish Federation of Tourism Journalists and Writers, is currently held by Almeria and aims to promote gastronomic tourism as well as local produce and wines.

Marbella, which is currently home to four Michelin restaurants, hopes to have its bid accepted this month, before welcoming the judging panel later in the year.

Monday Motivation - Dietary Evangelism

Ali Silver has had enough of holier-than-thou attitudes...

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get some enemies on the back of this post but sometimes the truth hurts, and I have a feeling this will hit a bit too close to home for some.

For those of you who define themselves by their diets and or exercise, look away now and google ‘what does a Victoria’s secret model eat?’ instead.

“No, no. I cannot eat that”

“Oh I’m great thanks, I’ve just become a vegan actually!”

“Well sugar is super addictive so I’ve really cut back; look at these ‘natural’ sugar treats I’ve made!”

“Ah you work in Nutrition? You must eat super healthy, do you eat bread?”

Negative Food chat. It’s everywhere, and it’s hideous.

Because actually, I quite like a bit of food chat myself, restaurants to try, new recipes and discussion about foods tried in different places.

But no, this food chat I’m talking about is a bit of not-so- humble bragging.

Introducing yourself to someone and then telling them what you do and don’t eat.

How eating meat is repulsive or why you should cut out sugar like they did.

Let’s ask ourselves why do we do this?

Since when do we define ourselves by what we put in our mouth?

Essentially, we’re saying that because we eat this certain way, we are healthier, purer and ultimately going to a more exclusive club in heaven than you.

In my opinion this goes beyond the need for weight loss and is wrapped in the quest for Ultimate Health.

Food is now the new religion, it’s a way of grouping and defining yourself.

Susan, we don’t give a hoot about your diet.

If you’re a qualified nutrition professional or doctor, by all means, give advice when asked (the crucial bit there)

If you are not, then please stop telling us what you eat and how others should too.

Nutritional science has been around for a very short amount of time, especially compated to regular  science, therefore there’s a lot of conflicting research and very little agreement on what can be labelled as ‘healthy’ (loaded term) for EVERYONE.

You might feel great cutting out gluten, but that doesn’t mean you should, and doesn’t mean your mate should, wants to or is able to.

This is also a form of food shaming. No, you’re not telling them off, but you’re congratulating yourself on food choices, therefore causing someone else to potentially feel less than. If you choose to cut out sugar, that’s your choice. The world doesn’t need to hear about it all the darn time. Don’t make your friends feel less than you because they are eating a wider range of foods.

Now, if you are someone who *is*defining themselves by their food choices, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I can tell you – been there, seen it and done it myself.

You might want to ask yourself what that’s all about. If you were forced to not eat the way you are now, or had to eat something on the ‘forbidden’ list, how would you feel?

Becoming overly attached to a way of eating can be the start of disordered eating for many people.

Aside from this, 98% of diets fail! That means those of us who are cutting out this that and the other, are also ‘falling off the bandwagon’ due to their restrictive diets. A restricted way of eating controls your life, who you socialise with, how you spend your time and so much more. Add to this, your mates are going to associate seeing you with feeling bad about themselves and get fed up of your food preaching ways.

The real message of this post is that food obsession is rife and it’s showing no signs in slowing down. If it’s dominating your mind and your conversations then you are not alone and it doesn’t have to be this way.

Please do feel free to email me with your comments and if you need help sorting out the white food related noise, I’m your girl.

If you just want to tell me your experience, then tell me.

I can help, I do help and I will help.


Burlesque Business

The eldest Goddaughter was back in town earlier this month. Yes, that’s right. I am the moral and spiritual guardian of three young ladies. You can stop laughing now,

Anyway, back to the eldest Godchild. Ziggy – fabulous name, fabulous kid – is a brilliant modern circus and burlesque performer, with hoops, flames and a variety of tassels and outfits that would make a parson blush. I think that she’s absolutely fabulous and was thrilled when she landed a gig at the Frol!k Burlesque party at Cat’s Kitchen in Estepona.

The ‘Ziglet’ flew in late on Friday evening and with the show the following night, Saturday was spent setting up for the gig, getting costumes ready, applying glitter and putting on nipple tassels. (The latter two just for me, obviously).

And then we had a problem with the props. As part of her Burlesque act, Ziggy uses a chair, but we discovered to our horror that none of the chairs at the venue would suffice. Cue a mad dash to the nearest hardware superstore.

At this point I should point out that Ziggy has a fair few number of tattoos, various piercings and was also sporting glitter, while I was wearing my Berber dessert sandals. We didn’t look like your average expat couple on a mission to purchase pot plants.

A fact that was underlined by the expressions of the staff when we came running in asking where the garden furniture was. “We need a chair for my Goddaughter’s show,” I explained to the bemused assistants. Glancing at her tattoos, they led us to the relevant section, where Ziggy shook her head. “No, they aren’t high enough. I’ll have to test one out”

Without further ado, my Goddaughter grabbed the nearest chair, planted it firmly on the ground, and proceeded to haul herself into a handstand splits on the chair, legs out, derriere pointing proudly down aisle 7 of the aforementioned garden centre.

I turned around to see the male assistants’ eyes bulging out of their heads. I swear one was panting…

As the Ziglet’s moral and spiritual guardian, I have never felt more proud!!!

Lives on the limit

Chilean photographer Magdalena Correa's latest exhibition Vidas en el límite, is currently on display at the Isolina Arbulu gallery.

Magdalena travels in search of the extreme corners, of lives on the edge of the world. The exhibition is a personal investigation that starts with cohabitation for long periods of time with unknown and surprising indigenous people and cultures,  capturing everyday moments.

The exhibition aims  "to achieve awareness and reflection of the viewer on human life that takes place in these territories of difficult and scarce access: to show their existence," explains Correa.

Magdalena has received the Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma Award in Photography (XI International Biennial, Chile) and her works are part of numerous public and private Spanish collections, including the Audiovisual Department of the Reina Sofía Museum; Museum of Fine Arts of Santander; IVAM, Valencian Institute of Modern Art of Valencia; Port of Barcelona, ​​among others.


Monday Motivation - The Sugar Rush

"Is sugar an addiction?" asks Ali Silver

If you feel out of control around food and fearful of having a certain foods in the house because you can’t stop at one, you are not alone.

Many clients come to me as self proclaimed food or sugar addicts, saying they’re obsessed with crisps/ice cream, they fear having just one bite as they know it will end up being much more, and generally feeling powerless around food.

Calling yourself an addict may feel helpful but this label could be causing more harm to our relationship with food and our bodies.

I’m going to walk you through the research and do a bit of de-bunking along the way!

The claim:

When we eat sugar, the reward system in our brain lights up in the same way as with alcohol, drugs etc.

Additional research shows that we tend to release more of these “feel good” chemicals in response to high glycaemic foods; in other words, sugar and carbs.

Food addiction researchers believe that continued over consumption of these highly processed foods rewire our brains to become dependent on them, in a way that’s similar to drugs. Indeed, MRIs have shown that food and drugs can have a similar effect on brain activity.

When we eat, our brain releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins—the “feel good” neurotransmitters.

The reality

Doesn’t this make total sense, however? If eating wasn’t a pleasurable experience, then we wouldn’t seek out food, and we would starve to death.

Our brains also release these feel good neurotransmitters when we cuddle a kitten or laugh at something funny.

This research also doesn’t account for caloric restriction and restrained eating.

When we haven’t been eating enough (dieting or restricting foods) there is a hyper-response in the reward region of the brain. Not only does this occur when we eat food but also when shown pictures of food or just thinking about eating food. Most people who identify as food addicts have a history of dieting and food restriction. Therefore doesn’t it make sense that when they “give in” and eat the off-limit food, that their brain is even more responsive?

The claim:

A study showed that rats can become dependent on sugar, exhibiting typical symptoms of addiction, including craving and both behavioural and neurochemical signs of withdrawal.

The reality:

What these animal studies fail to show is that the only time the rats consume sugar in an ‘addictive’ way is when they have been deprived of it. When they have unlimited access, this addictive behaviour does not occur.

If you’ve been reading my blog or those of a similar nature, you know that deprivation drives compulsive binge behaviour, which is why when dieting we are more vulnerable to enhanced brain-based responses to foods that are labelled as “naughty.”

What does this mean for us?

The research for being addicted to sugar or food in general is in its infancy. As for comparing it to drugs and alcohol: food cravings lessen with fasting whereas drug cravings do not lessen over time, indicating that there are important differences between the two.

A person’s sense of being out of control or addicted to food is not the same thing as having scientific evidence that it is occurring at the physiological level.

However this does not diminish a person's very real experience of feeling as if they are addicted and out of control. It makes sense in fact in the culture we live in that we feel this way, as we’re being fear-mongered around so many foods

The label of being a sugar addict, whilst you may feel like one and see the answer being to go cold-turkey on sugar, you may just be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy

You tell yourself you are an addict and therefore mustn’t eat the chocolate. Eventually the cravings kick in or you’re in a situation where you have a bite, and due to your rhetoric about being an addict and not stopping at one – that’s exactly what happens. You eat way past the point of comfortable fullness, thus reinforcing your belief that you indeed are a sugar addict and must do better next time.

If this is your experience you are not alone and it is possible to find peace around food.

Has this piece resonated with you? Are you ready for food freedom? Contact me ali@alisilver.co.uk