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As a single parent, it’s incredibly easy to mentally justify quick food. There’s so much to do right? And there’s simply never EVER enough time to do it all. So we set about looking for short cuts.

Mine are relatively simple – I don’t iron what you don’t see – my bed sheets for instance – I couldn’t care less if they are ironed or not, as long as they are clean. Ditto for Zack’s. Then there’s working out all the things I can do while waiting for Zack to finish Kung Fu – I never go to Rute without a full list of shopping or researches or writing that needs doing so that that hour is optimised.

In fact, I would say that I optimise my entire life so that I have as much spare time as I can possibly manage!

However the area where many parents, not just single parents, in my view get it completely wrong, is around food.

Breakfast cereals packed with sugar, midday snacks ditto, then a diet of pasta, pizza, hot dogs, burgers, nuggets, scampi and chips.

I honestly didn’t believe that diets like that truly existed until I watched the video here of Jamie Oliver at the TED awards. Seeing that one woman being confronted by her family’s weekly diet on the kitchen table was just horrifying.

Yes, Zack does have pizzas, and he loves scrambled eggs or baked beans on toast. But my goodness when you see a film like this and watch children failing to identify tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines and mushrooms… well, it makes you realise that our children are not being supported by their parents to have food intelligence.

Take a look at Jamie Oliver’s video yourself, and ask yourself if you’re being true to the needs of your children’s bodies to make them strong and healthy … it takes 21 minutes, but it’s well worth watching.

It’s later, and the chiropractor I swear to God cracked everything.

It bloody hurt, but not as much as it has in the past.

But I’m now apparently moving relatively speaking upright.

That’s good isn’t it?

I’m sure in some parts of the world, that would be a witch doctor.

In my case, it’s Stein Myklebust, D.C Chiropractor down in Fuengirola on the beach front near the Yaramar Hotel.

Never something one feels inclined to look forward to, however there’s a funny line there between it being a routine visit because you know something’s “not quite right” or, as is this occasion, a neck that feels as stiff as Rasputin’s WotNot and a pelvis as tense as the stays on Jack Sparrow’s boat …

So in short, he’ll make me cry today I know. He’ll get me in a position that makes my heart pound anyway in order to adjust my low back, and it will hurt.

But fingers’ crossed, that will mean I’ll wake up tomorrow morning without sciatica type symptoms, so the pain will be worth it.

Thank God for Janette who’s coming with me. She can drive if need be, and we’ll lunch together happily on something yummy to make up for the agonies.

Stein Myklebust,
Paseo Maritimo 62
Edif. La Lubina 2-1C
29640 Fuengirola

952 666 050

That’s what we call Joe.

Joe and Keith married in the UK before Christmas in the best ever marriage ceremony I’ve ever heard of. When asked by the, according to Joe (which is saying something) “very camp” official if they’d like some nice music to get them in the mood, Joe replied “No” like the Terminator would.

Several other softeners were offered, and the Terminator response was guaranteed.

“Not very romantic are we darlings?” commented the official …

“Daaahling,” Joe responded, “we’ve been together 17 years. This is only to insure I inherit the earth”.

Job done.

We call Joe the Wicked Step Mother because he’s more of a woman than I’ll ever be. His acrylic nails sweep, dust, polish and sparkle their home to the extent it reminds me of AbFab when they go through their “white” stage ….

But all that is changing due to his and her prompt pregnancy and safe delivery of The Girls … CoCo and ZsaZsa, the choccy-labs …!

We had to go and pay them a visit and these two flumpetty puppies of now 15 weeks were just adorable. And Joe’s comment?

“I now clean the glass on that sodding door 5 times a day” ….

Every house needs a Joe …!

A friend of mine shared this with me last night … I’m still thinking about the repercussions of what this actually means where cats are concerned!

About ten days ago, a rather smart ginger tomcat arrived in Les’ garden, much to the joy of one of his unspayed females who duly did what nature does and is no doubt expecting.

The tom seemed to be looking around and considering his changes of staying on a while, which wasn’t part of Les’ plan, so Les, being resourceful, scooped up the tom and took him 6km away to a restaurant / bar where many feral cats hang out, eat scraps and all in all have a pretty peachy life.

Two days later, the cat was back.

Les thought about this somewhat as, being ex military and having a pretty good idea about most things in life, he was a tad startled by the cat’s homing ability. But he was still clear that he didn’t want the tom to move in on them, and cats here in Spain are opportunists so you must be tough.

This time, the Tom was taken 40kms away to Trabuco. It’s a totally different area in a totally different province. It has a fabulous feral population, plenty of food, a veritable “Lady and the Tramp” existence. Les felt that unable to offer the cat a home himself, this was a great solution, and left.

Four days later …….

Yes, you guessed it!

This is the feline version of Lassie we’re dealing with. He negotiated probably six valleys, the lake, motorways and untold other hazards to travel an unimaginable distance.

HOW did he do that? HOW did he know the way? Stars? Telepathy?

Do you know how?

THAT was what I wanted to scream at the filthy old goat of a pervert I had to “do business with” last week ….

Bleuch – I want to scrub myself with BLEACH he was so gross!

…….

A few days ago, I spoke to a friend of mine who’s inlaws have a large allotment and grow all sorts of stuff, including pumpkins … which of course, throwing a huge Halloween Party, we needed.

I asked Maria if there was any chance of buying some for our party on Friday (yes, I have fantastic photos, but this is DEFINITELY not the blog for posting those on) – and she told me to pop down to the huerta (allotment – pronounced “oo-ER-ta”) and see if one of the family were there to help me find some suitable beasties for carving.

Oh God …

The Beasties were not of the pumpkin variety, but of the filthy dirty old man variety.

I’d only just got out of the car to the usual tuneless symphony of a thousand dogs barking for Britain when said creature from the black lagoon came out from the gloam and quite literally looked me up and down licking his lips.

To put it in perspective, he had an alcoholic nose ….

Trousers held up with bailing twine ….

And the standard three natural teeth ….

To say he was a little dirty would be the understatement of the century.

He stood infront of me and scratched himself in the way only men do, then grabbed hold of me. I shrieked in pain as his grip on my arm was positively vice-like.

He made me feel SICK …

I explained I was Maria’s friend and that we were having a party and she’d suggested I came to collect some Pumpkins.

I then hissed at Zack, who was with me (THANK GOD) dressed in his Kung Fu kit, that I wanted him to stay right beside me so that this grotesquely vile human being didn’t touch me again. I felt really stuck because I didn’t want lies getting back to Maria that I’d been rude or whatever, but I really wanted to push him physically away as he kept trying to grab hold of me.

Thankfully Zack then glued himself to me, and we chose 6 pumpkins (3 large, 3 medium for those of you dying to know), and I thought I’d got away with any further untoward groping when at the last minute Zack got in the car leaving me to shut the doors.

He lunged at me asking for kisses!

I managed to peck him on one cheek then pull right away and say “No, I’m sorry, I don’t like this” and jump in the car. I heard him asking the puff of smoke where I had been standing if I was still single ….

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” I cried ……

I’d sooner marry Count Dracula ….

Today, having totally slated the disgusting food at the JS Andalusi Park yesterday, I want to absolutely RAVE about the best hotel I have ever found here in Spain.

The Molino del Santo Hotel in the Ronda mountains north of Marbella is the Carlsberg of Hotels without a doubt.

It may not have the facilities of a five star hotel – ie instead of 500 rooms, it has a bespoke under 30 simply beautifully put together rooms ….

….. Instead of twelve lifts, its rooms are mostly external to the main hotel, so that you amble up some crazy paved steps to your own private patio area then into your air conditioned room, each generously furnished and with all manner of teas and coffees within to choose from…..

….. Instead of two or more restaurants allowing it the extra star, there is only one … but one that serves sumptuous food exquisitely presented and served frequently by the owners whose duty of care to their customers is only surpassed by their outstanding humour and attention to detail.

The hotel is absolutely family friendly – my 9 year old was quickly scooped up by the kids round the pool which allowed me the absolute luxury of snoozing under a shady tree with my mother who nodded off as well!

The hotel is a stone’s throw from Benoaján’s light railway, allowing you to ditch your car and be whisked away without the worry of drinking and driving (check the train times carefully).

As far as things to do is concerned, it depends on what you like. I personally loved walking in the cool of the evenings, swimming in the Cueva del Gato (Cat Cave) water which was fresh and invigorating, visiting Ronda itself which is beautiful and very ancient in its design and travelling down to the coast by car for a seaside day.

If you’re interested in Bull Fights, Ronda boasts one of the oldest rings in Spain and has many fights which Andy or Pauline, the owners, will be happy to tell you about.

So, if you’re heading that way, the least you should do is book in for dinner, and if you haven’t sorted out your accommodation – do yourself a favour and book in there. Oh – and tell them Amanda Hamilton recommended you …