Family Life In Spain: Issue 2
Jam packed with useful information about living and working in Spain.
Issue N� 2 Jan - March 2012 Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Would you like advice on which area is best for you & your family? Find out how to avoid paying Import Duty if you take your UK car with you ... You can save a lot of money by talking to the experts and taking the right steps before you make your move... The first step towards a successful relocation to Spain is to contact ... www.ccbspain.com Tel: (00 34) 952 48 68 06 Welcome! �Bienvenidos! WOW! Can you believe we are already into 2012. Time flies when you are having fun .. or so the saying goes! What plans do you have for this year? Did you make any new Year Resolutions? Have you broekn any of them yet? This year we have got lots of exciting projects planned including our very first Charity Family Fun Day in June (more details to follow). Once again this issue is jam packed with interesting articles from all our contributors. Have a look at the Contents below and flick through and enjoy whatever interests you. Remember that by clicking on any of the emails or websites in this magazine will take you directly through to our contributors websites. Please remember to tell them wher you saw their information. �Hasta Pronto! Family In Spain Currencies Direct Contents: Important updates for foreigners in Spain by www.ccbspain.com 4 18 20 22 Page The Gratitude Project by www.costawomen.ning January Clearout by Molly Chosing a private school in Madrid 6 by www.moving2madrid.com Reasons for living in Valencia by www.valencia-property.com A guide to Sevilla & Tapas by www.azahar-sevilla.com Mouth watering Recipes by www.larosilla-catering.com 8 10 12 It�s Just ... by www.loadofbull.es 24 Fli p p i ng th e C ontract by www.thespanishbrick.com 27 How can I boost my Spanish Vocabulary by www.learnspanish4life.com 28 Bilingual Childrens Books with a 30 Difference by www.jajaja-books.com Book Review by www.books4spain.com 32 Spanish wines 14 by www.anniebsspanishkitchen.com The Spanish Tax Advantage by David Rogers. 16 Fifteen years of family fun: Isla Magica by www.roundaboutspain.com 34 Important Update for Foreigners living in or moving to Spain ... To Be or Not to Be a Tax Resident in Spain... Foreigners living in Spain are often uncertain as to what constitutes being a tax resident in Spain and whether or not they should change their tax status. Following changes to the NIE/ Residencia / Foreigners Registration Certificate regulations over the past few years, many expats in Spain have become daunted with the current situation and are unsure about current regulations. Spanish fiscal laws and tax treaties state that if your "habitual residence" is in Spain then you should be registered as a fiscal resident in Spain. A person is considered to have their "habitual residence" in Spain if: - they spend more than 183 days per year in Spain. Sporadic trips outside of Spain are counted within this period, unless tax residence in another country is proven. - the main sources of income originate in Spain and/or a spouse and/or children reside in Spain. (Please be aware that in cases of uncertainty, the burden of proof rests with the individual.) If you chose to become a Fiscal resident in Spain then you should notify the tax office in your home country to avoid double taxation. As a Fiscal Resident of Spain, you are required to complete your annual tax returns in Spain (Declaracion de la Renta). These tax returns are submitted in May for the previous tax year.ie. In May 2012, you will submit your tax return for the period 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2011. This return must include your worldwide income not only your income in Spain. To Be or Not To Be A Tax Resident in Spain is not a decision to be taken lightly. If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional tax consultant. The Spanish authorities are catching up with foreign property owners in Spain who are not fulfilling their tax obligations... In Andalucia, many foreigners are panicking when they receive this letter from the Agencia Tributaria ... There is no need to panic. If you receive this letter from the Agencia Tributaria, it does not necessarily mean that you have to pay any taxes. However, it does mean that you should seek professional advice. Subject to your own personal situation, you may be exempt from paying these taxes in Spain. Here is a basic translation of the contents of the letter ... "From the data held by the tax agency in Spain (AEAT), it is known that for any of the years 2007, 2008 or 2009, you were the owner of any property situated in Spanish territory, and there is no record of any liquidation statement submitted by income tax on non residents (IRNR). , the income tax of natural persons (IRPF)or the property tax (only in 2007). In the event that your situation is that shown in the previous paragraph, we inform you that, before the AEAT can initiate a verification procedure , which could result in the imposition of sanctions, you have the opportunity to regularize your tax situation, proceeding to the presentation of the statement or omitted statements and payment, if any, of outstanding fees." If you have received this letter and are unsure about your own personal obligations, do not hesitate to Contact Us via Tel:+34 952 48 68 06 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.ccbspain.com ... Expat & Relocation Services Providing essential updates for foreigners living in or relocating to Spain Chosing a Private Scool in Madrid ... Finding the right school for your children is essential for their wellbeing in Madrid. Growing up in a foreign country is a unique opportunity to learn a new language and a new culture. In my opinion, Madrid is the #1 option in Spain to enable your children, in terms of education institutions, from nursery schools to world class universities. The main strength of private schools compared to public schools in Spain is that the teachers have more time and ressources to give much more personal attention to the pupil, and the level of English spoken there will really be bilingual. The first criteria would then be to see which schools are close to where you are thinking of living. Most private schools in the suburbs have a private bus service to take their pupils around Madrid from their home to their school. These fees can cost from 1,000 to 2,500 a year. I recommend that you should try to find a school less than 20 minutes by car or bus from where you live. They are in majority in the North of Madrid, Interactive Map of Best Schools for Expat Kids in Madrid" The second criteria would then be the price. The price tag for one of these quality private schools would be between 4000 and 20 000 a year, depending on the services and reputation of the school. Most schools do not disclose their prices on their websites. You will have to contact them to get the price quote for your specific case. Ask about prices to several schools, including: yearly tuition fees, "matr�cula"/inscription/capital fee, bus fee, and other charges you might have. Compare final prices since schools usually have many fees you will need to sum up to be able to compare. Third criteria: Do you want your child to be only with other expat kids, or to mingle with local Spanish pupils who want to be bilingual? Most private bilingual schools have a majority of Spanish pupils, some only have expats. If you feel your children have to get more support and feel less lost on his first year, then going for a 100% expat school can be a solution. If you believe that your children will be able to learn Spanish and make friends in a new environment, then choosing a mixed Spanish / Expat pupil population is the best choice. It is all about defi- ning the capacity of your child to adapt to its new environment: does he need to dive directly into this new world, or does he need a transition period within an expat environment ? It also depends if you are in Spain for the long term or only for a short period. Last but not least, you should be able to assess the quality of the teaching. This is the hardest part. You should ask for: - the school curriculum - the staff credentials, - references of families from the same country/region with children in the school - ask directly "How are you different from X/Y/Z (schools you are considering)" If you need help or advice to choose the school in Madrid for your children, do not hesitate to send me an email at: email@example.com Blog : Moving2Madrid.com Relocation Services : FlatAwayMadrid.com adridly Yours M Pierre , Reasons For Living in Valencia ... This is probably the most "salesy" article I have ever written. Of course as an estate agent n Valencia I am bound to say that Valencia is a great place to live but when I think about it, well, it just is. So anyway Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain behind the two obviously well known places of Madrid and Barcelona. If you are thinking of starting a business in Spain then these two places are great but the prices of them are a tad too high for my taste. Valencia offers everything those two cities can plus a good dose of contrast between modernism and traditional styles at a fraction of the cost. I came to live in Valencia sort of by default, my wife was offered a job in an international school here and in Madrid and "I" accepted the Valencia one obviously (Madrid is much too far away from the coast, sorry Pierre) I also wanted to start a business and it would not have been possible in Madrid due to the difficulties of getting about and the size of the city. I knew Valencia because of the Fallas fiestas and that was more or less enough. A week of debauchery, fireworks and drunkenness in the best fiesta in Spain, bar none, Fallas is a must visit for any family holiday ;-). I knew that Valencia was a place I would like living. So anyway we came here and to start off, although the general lifestyle was excellent, family life was a little more difficult. On days when it was raining, and I will admit there aren't many, there was simply nothing to do! This has now changed amazingly. The City of Arts and Sciences has been built, a must visit for anyone coming to the city and the best and yet least known millennium project in the World www.cac.es. We now have the Bioparc, one of the best zoos in the World because of the space afforded to the animals and its commitment to preservation and reproduction. The public transport network around the city is excellent but it is now complemented by the Valenbisi system of really cheap bike hire which works really well in a flat city with around 320 days of sunshine per year. And there is plenty to see and do for the whole family especially in the Turia riverbed park including the wonderful, and totally free, Gulliver Park, where the kids and a lot of adults too, can clamber over Gulliver as if they were Lilliputians. Needless to say in a city of a million people there are plenty of things to do and many of them are free or very cheap. However there are also many things you pay for to differing degrees, two first division football clubs means there is a game every weekend during the season and there are also excellent basketball and handball teams to enjoy. However the opportunity to actually participate in sport is also huge in Valencia with every town and village having a fully fledged sports centre with swimming pools, artificial grass football pitches and more. Usually these are priced really well too as they are municipal facilities. For a family Valencia offers a lot at a price that is a lot less than the two major Spanish cities. Just don't mention the waiters, they are shockingly bad! am Grah Graham Hunt is the owner of Valencia Property SL, www.valencia-property.com and various other businesses in Spain. He publishes a weekly newsletter "Spain is Different". To receive this free Newsletter, sign up HERE: http://bit.ly/zq5gqy (just click this link) Sevilla Tapas www.azahar-sevilla.com For any visitor or new arrival in Spain with even a passing interest in food, which is to say almost everyone, the first thing that they want to try are tapas. What are tapas? Tapas are a variety of small savoury Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. To "tapear", going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south, and is something that every visitor to Spain should experience. Because tapas are informal, and the bars are often busy, they are commonly eaten standing up at the bar or at small tables or even upturned barrels, and the atmosphere is convivial and noisy. In most tapas bars you will see traditional cured hams hanging from the rafters, and many bars in Seville are decorated with posters for bullfights, Semana Santa (holy week) and the Feria de Abril (spring fair). How to order tapas: Newcomers to Spain often make the mistake of ordering a whole whack of tapas as soon as they get their drinks and then have to jostle for table space when they all arrive at once and attempt to eat them all before they get cold. If there are just two of you, better to order a couple of tapas to start off with and, when those arrive, order a couple more. For larger groups you may prefer to order half or full "raciones" instead of tapas. These are basically larger servings of the same dishes are usually better value for money when there are a few people sharing. History of tapas: There are a number of theories of the origin of the custom of eating small snacks with drinks. Legend has it that because of illness the thirteenth century Castilian king Alfonso X (the Wise) had to eat small snacks with his wine between meals to maintain his strength, and after recovering passed a law that wine or beer served in taverns had to be accompanied by food. More probably the origins were practical, with bread or a small plate of ham or olives being used to keep dust or insects out of the drink (the literal meaning of "tapa" is "lid"). Tapas in its modern form is generally believed to have begun in the taverns and bars of Seville and Andalucia. Prices and eating times Prices vary; you can expect to pay 2-3 for a typical tapa, though they can go as high as 5. Kitchens are usually open between 1.00-4.00 in the afternoon, and later again from 8.00- 11.30, though some bars will stay open between 5-8 serving drinks and cold foods. Many bars also open for breakfast, serving tostadas (toasted rolls with a variety of toppings), coffee and juices. The best tapas bars in Sevilla: Sorry to disappoint but it really is impossible to list the "best bars" as there are so many variables to consider. I'm often asked which are my favourite tapas bars in Sevilla, which is always a very difficult question to answer. It depends on whether I want a quick snack or a full meal, if I'm in the mood for traditional food or something modern and innovative, whether I fancy seafood or meat dishes, and all kinds of other considerations. But some of the tapas bars I go to frequently are: Vineria San Telmo, La Azotea, Las Golondrinas, Modesto and Bodeguita Romero. All of these places are very different in terms of the food and atmosphere and all of them are wonderful in their own way. Sevilla Tapas: With over 3000 tapas bars in Seville people are spoiled for choice, but visitors are often overwhelmed by having so many options. It's not even easy to tell if a place is a favourite of locals as many Spanish people seen there may also be tourists, so there are no hard and fast rules. In a way this is what inspired my Sevilla Tapas blog, where I have listed close to a hundred bars and restaurants with the main criteria being "would I recommend this place to a friend?". You can search for tapas bars by barrio (neighbourhood), type of cuisine or by name in alphabetical order. For a fun and informative introduction to Spanish food and wine try one of my Sevilla Tapas Tours. These are casual personalised tours where you can experience some of the best tapas bars in town and sample the house specialities. The biggest compliment for me is when people tell me their tour experience was like being out with an old friend and that they would never have gone into this bar or tried that dish without my help. I recommend that people take the tour at the beginning of their visit as this sets them up for going out for tapas on their own during the rest of their stay. For more details and to book your vey own Sevilla Tapas Tour: Email firstname.lastname@example.org , www.twitter.com/SevillaTapas www.larosillacatering.com Lifestyle & Food Eating in season is something we should all try and do more often, fortunaletly in Spain we are blessed with wonderful fresh & invogorating produce most of the year. Just when we feel like we need to detox, or liven up our diets with vibrant tastes, nature provides for us. Our trees are full of citrus fruits of all types, grapefruits, lemons, limes & oranges to eat and make jams & marmalades. Avocados are ripening beautifully full of antioxidants & natural oils. I have included a few recipes with these health giving ingredients � Enjoy . Grapefruit Winter Warmer Brew. Freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice is sweetened with honey and infused with the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice. Enjoy this tea before bed, to soothe a cold, or serve as an invigorating breakfast drink. Ingredients � 2 Grapefruits squeezed � 2 to 4 tablespoons honey 1 cinnamon stick � � 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries Directions: 1. In a medium pot, combine juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat; strain and discard solids. Serve with a grapefruit segment or strip of zest. Avocado, grapefruit Tortilla nibbles. Oven-crisped wedges of flour tortilla are topped with mashed avocado and grapefruit wedges to create a colorful appetizer. Red pepper and thin rounds of jalapeno add a crisp bite. Ingredients � 6 flour tortillas � 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted � 3 pink or white grapefruit, peel and pith removed � 1/2 red pepper, stemmed and seeded � 2 avocados, peeled and pitted � Juice of 1 lime � Salt and freshly ground black pepper � 2 small jalapeno peppers, sliced into rounds � Fresh Coriander chopped. Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush tortillas with butter; cut each into eight triangles. Arrange on a baking sheet; toast in oven until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Set chips aside. Using a paring knife, remove each grapefruit section; set aside. Cut red pepper lengthwise, and cut into strips . 2. In a medium bowl, mash avocados with a fork until softened with some small pieces. Mix in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Add chopped coriander .Heap about 2 teaspoons avocado mixture on tortilla chip triangle, place a reserved grapefruit section on top, and garnish with a red pepper slice and jalapeno slices. serve immediately. Quick Lemon Curd A lovely quick recipe, when you're short on time, or when you want to impress impromptu guests. Perhaps your lemons are just dripping off the trees, mine are :) Lovely spread on warm scones, or mix with a little natural yogurt and put in a ramekin, dusted with brown sugar and bruleed. Ingredients � 1 cup white sugar � 3 eggs � 1 cup fresh lemon juice � 3 lemons, zested & juiced. � 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted Directions 1. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator. If you forget to stir, or over cook slightly, just pass through a fine sieve. La Rosilla � Lifestyle & Food. Home cooked seasonal dishes served with style. Personal inland tours of the Axarquia, bringing local food, culture & knowldege together for a true expereince of real family life in Spain. Private dining, Mountain 'Supperclub' & Event Catering. Spanish wine is getting better and better But how do we know what to buy? What does the label tell us? There are so many fab and trendy looking wine labels winking at us from supermarket shelves these days. Also some wine lists in restaurants need a guide book to take us though them. When it comes to selecting red wine, a few useful tips to think about are Roble or Joven, Crianza, Reserva & Gran Reserva. These 4 classifications, seen most often on bottles of red are an indication of what you're getting in the bottle. Don't be fooled by the fact that the older the vintage, the better the wine will be. Unless we know how that wine has been made � we have no idea if it's going to be good or bad. Oak gives red wine its longevity. If red wine has not spent time in an oak barrel � it's not going to keep for any length of time, regardless of the vintage. So this is what you should bear in mind The classifications of Roble, Crianza, Reserva & Gran Reserva , signify the specific length of time/ageing period that the wine has spent in oak cask and then bottle. These classifications tell you if a wine is drinkable, past its best or not yet ready to drink. JOVEN or ROBLE � Young wines of the current year which have not been aged in oak unless it mentions Roble (oak), which signifies a short time in oak. These wines are made for immediate drinking and not for keeping. No point in keeping in your rack for more than a year as it has been made without the use of oak to preserve it. So in a restaurant, if you are offered a bottle of Ribera del Duero Roble 2009 � it is probably beyond the drinking point. Don't even cook with it! CRIANZA Easy drinking wines which by the law of DOC (Denominaci�n de Origen Calificada) it has to have had a minimum of 12 months in oak and then 12 in bottle before being released. Crianzas from 2009 are the current release will keep for a few years only. Great to drink even without food. RESERVA In order to be classified as a DoC Reserva, this red wine must spend at least 36 months in a cask and bottle, of which at least 12 months should be in oak casks. This wine will be more complex and need a little while to breath before drinking. Then it will open out and wow! Best to drink with food. GRAN RESERVA This signifies a majestic wine which by law of its DoC has been in an oak barrel for at least 2 years and 3 years in bottle before being released on the market. Not every vineyard declares a Gran Reserva. Depending on the winemaker, these wines are made for keeping. You will probably need to decant before drinking to achieve full characteristics of the wine. Best to always drink with food. This wine is for special dinners. It is scare which should be reflected in the price. The higher the classification, the more expensive the wine will be as more cellarage and attention has been required to bring that bottle to the market. There are many great wine makers in Spain therefore, if you know the reputation of the winemaker, the above general rules may not always apply so please just refer to them as a guideline. There are many inconsistencies in the wine market but one this is for sure � if you drink too much you will eventually fall over ! d! �Salu ie B Ann Check out the latest happenings at Annie B's Spanish Kitchen www.anniebsspanishkitchen.com Follow what�s happening at Annie B's Spanish Kitchen Group on Facebook http://on.fb.me/xUq4fw Read my blog at http://anniebsspanishkitchen.blogspot.com The Spanish Tax Advantage (Part 2)... Tax Efficient Pensions Many individuals find pensions confusing and the global recession and so called "credit crunch" has created a great deal of concern over pension invested funds. This is only compounded when you move overseas as you may also be affected by exchange rate fluctuations. Well the overseas part shouldn't worry you, in fact as a result of living overseas there are significant advantages open to you with regard to your UK pension arrangements. In April 2006 and 2011, UK pension legislation changed allowing persons living outside the UK to transfer their pension assets to an alternate overseas pension scheme. These have been formally named Qualified Recognized Overseas Pension Schemes or QROPS for short. Although not for everyone, these schemes offer significant flexibility and tax advantages over that as offered by UK sited schemes. By transferring your existing pension assets to a QROPS you could save up to 55% in tax charges on 1st death succession and further 55% on 2nd death succession. In short this means that your heirs will truly benefit from your life time's work rather than your adopted child the UK chancellor. In the majority of cases a transfer to an overseas scheme proves to be in the policy holder's best interest as advantages of transferring to a QROPS include: � No need to make life long decision now that are locked in � No requirements to purchase an annuity � No requirements to pay UK tax charge upon death � Tax efficiency on Income Drawdown � Currency hedging (as you could receive your income in the currency of your resident country) � Better inheritance provisions � Far greater freedom of investment choices However, it's not for everyone and in certain circumstances a transfer could prove to be a disadvantage, such as certain defined benefit schemes. Also be aware that some companies and individuals claim that you can 100% commute your pension by transferring to such jurisdictions as New Zealand. Whilst this is possible you need to be aware of the possible implications of such transfers. For example some claim that this can be done "tax free". If by "tax free" they mean there are no taxes to pay in New Zealand, then they are correct. However the tax position in either the UK or Spain may differ considerably. Indeed the legislation that allowed this is set to change with reforms to the UK Financial Act planned for April 2012. These changes will put a stop to this practice which will in turn provide greater consumer protection. In short before embarking on an overseas pension transfer ensure that you are talking to a trusted and regulated company and that you are made "fully" aware of the implications should you return to the UK and as such your tax liabilities. To find out more please contact me on 0034 952 816 443 or 0034 622 345 558 or simply email me at email@example.com The information contained in this article does not constitute financial advice and you should seek advice from a professional tax adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. A Date for your Diary: Sunday 3rd June 2012 We are very happy to announce our very first Family Life In Spain Family Fun Charity Day Traditional sprots day games such as: Three Legged Race, Egg & Spoon, Sack race ... LIVE entertainment from local goups ,bands & clubs Full bar, BBQ , traditional food stalls & much more! If you would like to participate please email firstname.lastname@example.org More Gloom for the Eurozone? With the recent credit down-grading of a number of Eurozone countries, including France, are we about to finally see the start of the Euro break-up? Well if I had a crystal ball I could give you the answer! As it stands each piece of negative news is followed by a positive one and vice versa. What is clear is that the continuing crisis within the Eurozone plays directly into the hands of the doomongers who continuously talk of the inevitability of the final euro breakdown. As more and more details are released concerning the French/German efforts to stabalise the eurozone, it is becoming increasingly clear that there plans are flawed. This in turn places more pressure on the euro, forcing it down to currently record lows against the US Dollar. Add to this the news from Greece that they are unlikely to be able to repay the next loan instalments � a key factor in allowing further bail-out money to be given to the country - and you begin to see how constant talk of a breakdown of the Eurozone has increasing credibility As I indicated already, each piece of negative news is followed by a positive one. In this case, as the Euro sinks, so the good old British Pound rises. As I write this, GBP currently stands against the Euro at over 1.21 Only a matter of weeks ago we were looking at 1.14, so in effect, the pound has risen by over 6% in less than six weeks (I wouldn't mind that sort of interest rate from my Bank ! ) . But what about the UK ? Unfortunately the UK media has always prospered on the basis that `bad news is good news'. Any positive comments from the Government are quickly given a negative spin. Only this Saturday a report predicted the UK in 2012 would avoid recession but that growth would `flatline'. Then come Monday, the news channels reinterpret this to mean the UK is heading for a further recession (this despite Osbourne's announcement that the UK has reached an agreement with China, that the City will become the biggest trading centre for Chinese currency outside of China itself. In turn, this will create additional jobs and potentially, billions in terms of increased profit) So let us look a little more closely at Spain � new austerity measures have in the main, been received positively by the international community. However, unemployment continues to rise and I have no doubt, sooner or later the unions will begin to flex their muscles. What would be the consequences of Spain pulling out of the Euro? In the short-term, a return to the peseta would present us with a 20-40% devaluation. This in turn would push up inflation and further weaken the housing market. Doom and Gloom? Not in the longer turn. A further decrease in property prices, coupled with a devaluation of the currency, will inevitably lead to international bargain hunters returning to our shores in the pursuit of what they perceive to be low-cost property. This in turn helps stimulate the markets, assists with expansion within the construction industry and hey presto, we are back where we started 5 years ago! So, after all that, the future of the international money markets remain as clear as mud!!! To open a Currencies Direct account, click here: http://bit.ly/Af9zN4 If you would like more infoprmation on how to make your money go further or on any of the many financial products Currencies Direct offer, please contact Paul Ellis at Currencies Direct : +34 952906581 (Office), +34 687417034 (Mobile) or e-mail at email@example.com REMEMBER to quote Ref: A06230 (Thank you!) Time; our most valuable possession The old adage "time waits for no (wo)man" manifests itself every day! As Christmas / D�a de los Reyes Magos is finally over and we head into 2012, I hear shouts of "where did 2011 go?" Getting older years, months, days and minutes! seemingly vanish partly due to the wonderful intervention of the www. Computers, phones, even TV can connect us anywhere and we can be found by anyone (Google Latitude for instance, tracks you with your phone); the roadrunner and his bleep bleep just went into overdrive! As women we are famed for being great at multi-tasking but have we taken it all too far? How many articles do you have bookmarked for later, or emails in a to-read folder? Do you find yourself never quite catching up with your day? So how do we slow down time? Michael Altsuler "The bad news is time flies; the good The perception that time is moving faster news is you're the pilot." is just that � we still have 24 hours in day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds to a minute. So why is that when you were younger it seemed that life was moving at a much slower pace. When did the long hot summer pass us by? Growing up we faced a lot of new events; seeing the sea for the first time, first day at school, big holiday with our parents, first date etc. These were all new, completely alien occasions and created novel events. You couldn't dip into your memory bank as there was nothing there. The feeling from the world of Physiology is that we take those initial events and then the experiences create more detailed and lasting memories. When an event is repeated over and over, year on year, it creates a much less significant or lasting impression. Do you remember going somewhere new when the drive there always learned, each day add something. seemed to take longer than the To become enlightened, each day drive back! Then there is that first drop something." look at an amazing building, or remarkable view. I always try to take a photo the minute I see that vista as it doesn't take long to become part of the background and almost normal. Lao Tzu wrote, "To become So what's the key to slowing down the time we live in? January Clear out! We�ve packed up the Christmas decorations and eaten the last mince pie. After the excesses over the festive period, shiny new toys for the children, new clothes and gadgets for us we�re back to reality in January. I usually start the year with a good clear out of things at home. I find it best to begin with just one drawer or one shelf in a cupboard. With each item decide what to do: � � � Keep it: put it away, in the correct place in the home Throw it away (or recycle if possible) Give it away, you no longer need it but it may be useful to someone To clear out my wardrobe I usually go through all my jeans and trousers one day, then another time, I�ll check through coats and jackets. This way it�s less daunting. Think about anything that you haven't worn for a while. Is it the wrong size? A pain to iron? Is it missing a button? Maybe you don�t have anything that goes with that garment. Once you begin to work on your wardrobe or your home it will gradually get easier. If you are moving house, it is great to do this well ahead of your move so that you are only taking useful items along with you and not decluttering on arrival, saving a lot of money in the moving costs (or storage fees) Once you have piles of things that you no longer find useful. Here are a few ideas of what to do with them: Books: There are many different initiatives now to make use of second hand books. You make take them to an International bookshop and trade in for other titles you haven't read. You may swap them online with www.bookmooch.com and receive other books. You need to pay postage so it�s best to find users in Spain rather than outside the country to keep postage fees low. You can put a joblot on Freecycle for someone to collect locally. Also you may release them into the world using www.bookcrossing.com tracking them online to see where they are being read. Clothes & Shoes: There are many different things you can do, you may sell clothes on ebay.co.uk although the postage costs in Spain make this slightly restrictive. Some brands do particularly well (e.g Karen Millen, Whistles and designer labels) making it worthwhile. Humana is a charity that accepts unwanted clothes and accessories, they have 25 shops in Spain. Read more here: http://bit.ly/A6mM3Y Some charities leave bags or boxes in the apartments for collection at a later date. Also there are large containers for clothing on most streets. If you donate shoes, please fasten them together well. Mobile phones: You can hand in your mobile phone to TELCOR, addresses in Andaluc�a are here: http://bit.ly/x0o033 they will give you a voucher to spend in El Cort� Ingl�s for the scrap value of the phone. If must be fully charged and with the charger when you hand it in. If you don't have a charger or the phone is not working you can ask at your Spanish post office to send the phone to Red Cross, they have freepost envelopes and the charity recycles the phones. Magazines: If you have magazines in English your Spanish friends may like to read them if they are learning the language. I also take magazines to the dentist�s or doctors and for the waiting rooms. Toys: You can donate them to a local nursery or charity. Caritas in Malaga accept clothes and toys www.caritasmalaga.es in Granada they receive items at their Caritas HQ on at 3 Dr Azpitarte street on weekday mornings . Molly originally from Nottingham, moved to Spain in the 1990�s, initially based in Barcelona, for the past 6 years is living in Granada, Andalucia. Working in Technology sector in PR & Communications, she has also a Postgraduate in Institutional Relations & Protocol from Granada University. Find Molly on Twitter: @piccavey Dave Bull has lived in Spain for twelve years and writes about his experiences in expat publications and on blogs. You can keep updated with his schenanigans by checking out his website: www.loadofbull.es or follow him on twitter @davejbull. The following is an exerpt from his recently published book : It Just Is .. SUNDAY JANUARY 31st 2010 What a January day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and I'm sitting in one of Alicante's trendiest bars in the trendiest area, but just at the wrong time of day... Effigies of Tin Tin and Snowy and the Thompson Twins (not the 80's band) surround me - this is Captain Haddock's Bar. On the arm of Alicante port, this place is alive with music, laughter and life - buzzing with youthful sweat and expectation, but at night. Not, as usual, while I am here. Still, not a bad place to be; seagulls screeching and scrounging in the sun and the clink clink of yacht masts while welldressed locals amble along looking relaxed and content. The odd Brit (easy to spot: football shirt, tattoo, shorts in winter, socks and sandals � and the men are as bad) stumbles along dragging a hot family behind in search of `a bloody pint and some chips.' I've escaped to the port but back on the Urb things are kicking off again, the personal trainer is back. Having left under a very dark cloud a year ago the Urb's very own Mr Motivator is back - minus the wife. Mr M vehemently denied any `improper' behaviour with one of his attractive, Swedish, female, curvy clients and went back to the UK � chasing the wife � and bemoaning those who prejudged. Well that didn't work out and luckily Miss Sweden has allowed him to move in with her, and help look after the little one. Not sure where Miss Sweden's husband is in all this but was last heard of sending emails from a North Sea oil rig threatening to `rip out Mr M's lungs and feed them to the fish...' While I'm here though I really need to get a front page story finished for the newspaper about Triads. You see in my role as the editor I don't get to face much danger � the worst I get is probably a letter from `annoyed � name and address withheld.' So when I decided to write an article about people-trafficking on the Costas - after receiving bagful's of letters concerning the presence of East European prostitutes on just about every roundabout in Spain, and Chinese DVD sellers outside of every bar - I thought nothing of it. My boss Ken, an ex-army major, ironically doesn't like confrontation and was worried that the Triads would be out to get us if we printed it and made me remove any reference that might incur the wrath of the `Godfathers' of the orient. His son Nick, who owns the newspaper, doesn't help either. He thinks he knows what he's doing with computers but has about as much success as a cow with a Rubik's cube. Each of our computers has problems with email. My `Inbox' receives at least five hundred messages per day (of which about 490 are `junk') so if I have a day or two away from the office I can return to well over a thousand emails to search through on my return. Having said that, this week it's stopped working altogether, which in a way is a blessing. Couple that with the fact that Ken's other son, Derek, has swapped my computer with his � `because it's better than mine' � and now I don't have Microsoft Word, or any other word processor program. I also can't print anything because the printer can't be connected to my computer...according to Nick, and so here I am a journalist with a PC that can't print and with no way to read letters, articles or comments, or even with a means of communicating with anyone electronically � and I'm now writing this at home on a Friday after a week of working like this. Still next week things will sort themselves out I'm sure. I stopped off for a burger on the way home and felt that I should really congratulate Ronald for making something that tastes exactly like it sounds, have you tried the McWrap...? www.familylifeinspain.com Follow us on @FamilyInSpain http://twitter.com/#!/familyinspain https://www.facebook.com/FamilyLifeInSpain To Sign Up for our next FREE newsletter just click the link below: http://on.fb.me/qAVgcF Please send any comments, feedback and suggestions for future issues via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org "Flipping the Contract" Let us now spend a few lines on a property practice that is history for the good of the property business. A widespread practice in Spain during the boom years that has had many implications for the average buyer and investor: "dar el pase"="To flip the contract." Nowadays it is impossible to do this given the prices trend and new regulations. Buying property off-plan:I remember my friend Anthony asking me in a restaurant in London in 2005 why Spaniards always bought properties in new developments and why those new developments were more expensive than second-hand properties, a phenomenon that puzzled him, as he had recently bought a large, brand new apartment in Mallorca.I told him that the primary reason was because Spaniards often like to flip the contract: "dar el pase". Property practice during the boom:This practice was especially prevalent during the period of credit expansion from 2003 to 2005, and it had a big impact on planned development. Proper developer did not allow this practice, generally. During a bubble period reflecting fast growth of property prices, soft credit and the property business cannot be fully monitored by the national tax office, thus opening the door to contract flipping. Flipping the contract... a typical case:Here is a typical case to explain this lucrative practice: a developer and a buyer sign a contract on a flat that costs 130,000. The agreement states that at the signing of the contract the buyer is to pay 10% of the total amount ( 13,000) and an additional 10% in 15 monthly instalments ( 2,600), whereupon the development will be finished (15 months). In the third month after the agreement had been signed, the buyer has spent 13,000 + 2,600 = 15,600 , but he finds another buyer-speculator who is interested in the property. Often, the first buyer would transfer his rights and the deed to the second buyer for an amount higher than what s/he spent, generating a profit. For instance, the first buyer could sell his agreement with the developer to the second buyer for 30 K, earning a profit of 14.4 K . That gives the second buyer 12 months to find a third buyer and repeat the flip if s/he desires. Because of all of these possible transactions, the final selling price at the completion of the development could easily be increased by 20% from the starting price, as often occurred during the property bubble. Now, this is history: To add to the hidden nature of this practice, payments were usually made in cash, making it impossible to track the changes of possession of the contract. This practice was able to continue because there was not any regulation that forced developers to register primary contracts (contratos de arras) with their clients and upfront payments until 1st December 2008. The con t ra ct s were reg istered on ly in t he n a me of t he fin a l b uyer, who wa s in some ca ses p ayin g 20% a b ove t he orig in a l p rice of t he p rop ert y. . . Now t ha t dodg y p ra ct ice is history. How Can I Boost My Spanish Vocabulary? To build your Spanish Vocabulary you should read and speak combining both tasks simultaneously. It is good advice to keep a record of words that you are learning everyday and of course the translation in English to help you to have more understanding of both languages. Learning new vocabulary from sentences or from stories or environments is a good experience as well as immersing yourself in reading articles, news, newspapers and include movies too. This can also give you cultural insights that you don't get from text books. This will help you realise how much you are learning about the Spanish language. Learn about it through Topics like in the shops, in the chemist, in the butcher etc. After translating, hear the word a few times and speak out loud from your mouth not from your head. Participate and immerse yourself with Spanish Speaking Communities or Communities that have the same affinity of Learning Spanish like you. The most important thing is practice, speaking in particular, and with a native speaker even better. Be bold and don't be afraid to make mistakes and tell your Spanish friends (if you have some) to correct every one. Talk in Spanish about things that interest you and work on your weaknesses. Try to make it fun without getting too serious. The sharing of the learning process makes the whole thing much more fun and try to do half an hour each day. You will make very rapid progress this way and your vocabulary will get better. Learning a new language requires making a big effort on a regular basis, but it's worth it. Some words they stick better in your head than others but you need to try to read and speak to memorise. It is not always easy putting a word into a conversation and you don't always have the chance to speak to someone in Spanish then share with us and everything will get even better. Look for words if you can't tell the meaning by the context. Why not write down new words and carry them with you. You never know if this will work until you try. Learn different Topics that will require you to learn different words and this way you will build your vocabulary. Your vocabulary will increase if you are in the right environment. Be patient. You, basically, have to immerse yourself through the memory process until you start to Speak Spanish enough to get along well. Eating Out - Salir a Comer Fuera 1 - Caf� � La cafeter�a la carta - menu la sombrilla - umbrella la m�quina de caf� - coffee machine (Newsletter) la terraza - terrace el bar - bar el camarero - waiter los servicios - toilets 2 - Food � La comida el pan integral - brown bread la ensalada - salad el sandwich tostado - toasted sandwich el helado - ice cream los aperitivos - starters el plato del d�a - menu of the day 3 - Bars � Los bares el camarero - bartender el grifo de cerveza - beer tap el taburete - bar stool la mesa - table la caja - tilt el abrebotellas - bottle opener el abrelatas - can opener 4 - Bar snacks � Los aperitivos o los snacks los cacahuetes - peanuts las aceitunas - olives las patatas fritas - chips las patatas de bolsa - crisps el queso - cheese las empanadillas - sauvory pastries 5 - Courses � Los platos el aperitivo - ap�ritif el entrante - starter el acompa�amiento o la guarnici�n side order (Newsletter) el postre - dessert el primer plato - first course el segundo plato - main course 6 - Restaurants � Los restaurantes la servilleta - napkin el cubierto - table setting la bandeja - tray la barra - bar counter el posavasos - coaster la coctelera - cocktail shaker Learn Spanish 4 Life offer a free weekly email Newsletter about Spanish Words to increase your knowledge and grammar. To receive weekly "Word of the Day Newsletter" please visit www.learnspanish4life.com I have always been deeply passionate about learning and teaching languages and when I decided to jump into the world of writing and publishing, I was able to combine all my passions at once. I could encourage children to find language learning fun, through my stories. They gently lead a child into Spanish by slipping the foreign vocabulary into an English context, therefore they are so absorbed and engaged in the story, they don't even realise they are learning! I didn't want to just stop there though so I now take my bilingual stories, some flash cards, character dolls and a spot of Spanish music into schools, pre-schools, libraries and children's centres to get them involved in my language learning mission! The children who range from as young as 6 months to 7 years seem to concentrate really well as they listen to the story and I am not entirely sure concentration would last as long if the story was entirely bilingual. They love the fact that they can look after a doll while I read and they are asked to join in and repeat when I come to a Spanish word. There are the odd few that don't join in, but on the whole the majority of them shout out the words back to me with A LOT of enthusiasm! They also love to get up and dance at the end, learning some basic flamenco moves. This got me thinking about how early we start teaching languages as, as a rule we Brits do not tend to encourage language learning as much as you see on the continent. It's definitely something that is becoming more popular as people are realising the benefits, but still there is a slight reluctance. I wonder if we somehow harp back in our minds to our teenage years, standing up in French class, wildly blushing, having to recite a verb and it made me realise what an awful age that is to start learning languages. Not only is it that much harder but it can be such a painfully awkward time. The young children I have been reading to, lack all inhibition, jumping and dancing around and hollering back at me in Spanish. They don't look to see what their friend is doing, they don't blush, or shy away- they just go for it. They don't really realise that they are being taught Spanish; they just suck it all up! It only reinforces to me what a prime age this is for introducing a second language. Make learning fun, take away the notion that your child "has" to learn. Use tools such as character dolls to make up a story, use flash cards and make them guess the word and count how many they can remember, take them up the stairs whilst counting your numbers and don't forget music and dance is a great way to get children involved. You never know how much you will learn along with your child! Sample pages from Lucy & Lucia Genevieve was born in Colchester, Essex in 1978. She studied at the University of Sussex and has a degree in Linguistics and Spanish. Writing the books has brought the two of her passions together. She has been a private Spanish tutor to children for many years and picked up along the way, what interests children and what makes them tick! www.jajaja-books.com A World of Flavours Tapas (Hardback) k o ew By M.Teresa Segura o i B ev Authentic Regional Recipes R RRP �12.99 �8.49 Free Shipping I'm an enthusiastic amateur cook but I like, no make that need, to have a recipe to follow � at least until I have the hang of a dish and then feel comfortable enough to "experiment". I don't think I am alone in this and would never/could never aspire to being a Masterchef contestant! I also live in Spain and regularly enjoy tapas, whether in a "normal" bar where they are an accompaniment to a beer or wine; or in bar where the tapas and not the drink is the main focus or in a formal restaurant where they are just a part of the menu. So I like to think I have the relevant experience to make a judgement about a recipe book whose aim is to provide the reader with a series of tapas recipes. I cannot claim to be expert enough to tell you whether all the dishes described in A World of Flavours � Tapas are "traditional" tapas or which traditional tapas dishes have been omitted. What I can say is that this book is very well organised � presenting first the "classic", or traditional, tapas in the first third, followed by tapas organised by regions, from northern Spain to Andalusia. At the same time, every recipe, apart from one or two, is presented on one page, accompanied on the facing page with a photo of the dish. It is a simple but effective layout, aided by easy to follow instructions and ingredient lists. The start of the book also contains one page summaries of the gastronomy of each major Spanish region, the key ingredients of the Spanish kitchen and the techniques and equipment used in Spanish cooking and the culture of tapas. In short, it is an attractive, well presented, practical book with a comprehensive selection of tapas recipes, including some tapas "desserts". It is quite heavily focused on fish and seafood tapas and, the fact it is organised by regions, means you have use the index (or leaf in a more leisurely manner through the book itself ) to find dishes based on ingredients or cooking methods but this is a minor "complaint" � it is a tapas book worthy of any self respecting amateur chef with a selection of dishes which do not require you to be a budding Masterchef but which will provide your guests with tasty, enjoyable and interesting food ... by Rod Younger. Deadly Secrets (Paperback) By Robert Tenison A tale of corruption, money laundering and murder in Southern Spain RRP �9.99 �7.99 Free Shipping k o ew o i B ev R "A very slick and well written novel, well researched and coherent. I was impressed." Kitty Sewell, bestselling author of Ice Trap. Javier Urquiza, a local businessman has bribed various officials at local and regional government level to ensure the reclassification of a large piece of land for a golf course and residential housing project in Los Cipreses, a picturesque coastal town in southern Spain. However, the organised crime unit of the National Police (Udyco) have enlisted the help of Mike Cameron, a long standing ex-pat with an estate agency business, to entrap Javier Urquiza. Mike Cameron dies under mysterious circumstances and Andy Montalvo, an old friend of Mike's, arrives in Los Cipreses to investigate his death. This brings him into contact with, Cristina Iba�ez, the undercover female special agent who is handling the investigation into Javier Urquiza's activities and who had "recruited" Mike. Between them they begin to uncover details about Mike's murder and the property transaction which involves bribery, tax evasion and money laundering, via the use of offshore companies and bank accounts. As Andy and Cristina get closer to the truth about Mike's death and the property transaction, there are further deaths as certain individuals attempt to deflect suspicion or double cross each other. If you would like to order any of these books or to see the range of Spain related books available at great prices, just visit the website by clicking this link www.books4spain.com FIFTEEN YEARS OF FAMILY FUN Isla M�gica celebrates its 15th anniversary this year after originally opening back in 1997 on the grounds of the former Expo `92 World's Fair site in Seville. After 1992 the place was left untouched until the local government launched a project to build a theme park. In 1995, Port Aventura opened its doors and the concept was such a huge hit that Isla M�gica was built. There are eight different themed areas and the park has a similar layout to Port Aventura although in a scaled-down version. Isla M�gica is actually the smallest of Spain's four theme parks � the others being PortAventura, Terra M�tica and Parque Warner. The park's slogan is `Diversi�n sin l�mites' (Fun with no limits) and is based on a 16th century Spanish colonial theme and centred around a large lake. It is divided into areas - Puerto de Indias, Mundo Maya, Puerta de America, Amazonia, Guarida de losPiratas, Fuente de la Juventud, El Dorado and Metropolis de Espa�a. It is owned by Parque Isla Magica SA and there are 28 rides and 23 shows. It is remarkably close to the city centre and very easy to find. The park takes visitors back to the 16th century where Columbus set sail for the new world. At the entrance there are a multitude of shops and restaurants and a theatre where you can watch films or shows that make reference to the local traditions. But if what you want is pure adrenalin-fuelled emotions, you should go straight to the "Challenge", a 69 metre high freefall drop attraction and the Jaguar rollercoaster. There are river rides and mines and train rides and the park is littered with sprinklers for the very hot summer days. Despite the heat in summer this is also a good time to visit with many special offers on accommodation and entry fees at this time. Most rides have a height requirement of 95cm and there are only a couple of major rides with the rest catered for the family with plenty of water rides. The rides don't last too long in a bid to avoid long queues. PLUS POINTS: Definitely geared towards the families with lots of ride for younger children (aged 10-16 mostly) and can invariably be done in a day. NEGATIVE POINTS: Always check the website before you go as it opens and closes at various times. If you're looking for thrill rides this is not the place as only two major rollercoaster rides. OPEN: End of March � December PRICES: In high season (June-Sept) tickets are as high as 29 for an adult, 23 for young (13-25) or 20 for a child (5-12). Offers often available. HOW TO GET THERE: It is just 10 minutes from the airport by car or by bus or train from Seville or via the ring road SE-30. CONTACT: www.islamagica.es Tel: 902 16 17 16 RoundaboutSpain is the only online directory listing 'things to do' and 'places to go' for children and families, living on, or visiting the Costa del Sol. Web: www.roundaboutspain.com Email: email@example.com Tel 607680881 / 678 508 505 Find us on Facebook & Twitter @roundaboutspain "Life�s a beach ... you just have to stroll along it from time to time to appreciate what you have!" Family Life in Spain