In Spain the season of being jolly extends well beyond the 12 days of Christmas: traditionally beginning on the 22nd of December with the annual National Lottery, known affectionately as el Gordo (“the fat one”) and finishing on the 6th of January when the Three Kings bring gifts. This month our blogger in Madrid writes about traditional British festivities in the lead up to Christmas.
“Several months after my husband had died I saw a show about a family living abroad called House Hunters International. They had moved to a beautiful little village outside of Barcelona, one of my favorite places on earth. The little pueblo of Sitges was right along the sea and boasted a lively town center along with an incredible expat community representing people from all over the globe.”
If you are thinking about buying a family home outside of Barcelona the Maresme coast is a great choice: over 30km of sandy beaches, numerous marinas, 4,000 hectares of protected Natural Parks, a unique microclimate, countless high quality restaurants and its own wine denomination – what more could one ask for?
Jenna Mann talks to MumAbroad Life about her passion for art therapy, how it can help children and the challenges she faces introducing it into schools and health facilities in Spain.
“I have always felt at home here geographically but it has taken a while to become integrated socially. The Mayenne is a very rural and traditional area with families who have lived here for generations. The mindset is not very open and change is not on the agenda so the influx of British people into this area gets mixed reactions.”
“……research suggests that the stimulation offered by a second language can help children with special needs to function better. They are not learning them as foreign languages, which is a very different matter, but being brought up speaking both from birth.”
“Since moving here we have had a third daughter. She was born just 4 months ago and she is absolutely delightful! It’s wonderful for us to have a little baby in the family again and her big sisters adore her.”
“When I go home to visit my family in Australia they tell me I have become more Italian when it comes to parenting, yet when I am in Italy parents tell me that I am very Australian. I guess I have adapted a little and I am a bit in the middle.”
“If I could change one thing, it would be to have insisted on a meeting at the beginning of the school year, to ask about the processes in school – how the children are expected to be kitted out, what is the requirement in respect of uniform and sportswear, what are the rules for homework etc.”
Mum and photographer Raquel Ferreirinha, who moved from Berlin to Dublin and now lives in Italy in a house on a hill by the Adriatic sea, talks to MumAbroad about how to photograph children.
Linda Martinez and her husband opened The Beehive in 1999: a place where they connect their love of Rome and their own personal passions and interests with their guests and their community.
“Children are growing. They need healthy foods and physical exercise to do this properly. Eating healthily and getting adequate physical activity as a child is an ‘investment’ towards being a healthy adult!”
MumAbroad was founded by Rebecca Laidlaw, an Internet Marketing consultant & Carrie Frais, a Journalist and PR executive. Carrie lives in Barcelona and is Mum to Poppy (7) and Bertie (5) and Rebecca lives in Oxfordshire (UK) and has 3 children, Ollie (7), Sophie (5) and Theo (1).
“In 2007, we were both living in the beautiful city of Barcelona, having each just given birth to our first child. With no extended family to help with childcare, we looked for other resources to help guide us through this challenging period of our lives. We were surprised at how difficult it was to find easily accessible information about activities and services for parents. It soon became apparent that there was a growing niche for an English language website which would offer parents from the International Community valuable information such as child-related services, schools, family activities, shops, family holidays and restaurants. After extensive research and the help of scores of mothers, Barcelona Mum was born, offering a comprehensive and personalized guide to family life in Barcelona. Within a few months MumAbroad Spain was launched, incorporating the whole of Catalunya and subsequently Madrid, Andalucia, the Costa Blanca and the Balearics. As the site gained momentum, MumAbroad France, MumAbroad Italy and MumAbroad Germany were established and in 2014 the four sites were amalgamated under one roof.
We believe that, in the majority of cases, parents are the best judge of anything child-related, so that is why our site is based purely on recommendation. Every service, group or activity on our website has been recommended by at least one Mum or Dad. In our interview section, you can read about other mums’ experiences of living abroad as well as interviews with a host of childhood experts. In our Women in Business section, we’ve discovered some inspirational ladies, who have established successful businesses in and created a life for themselves, many of whom have had to juggle work and family life. Our forum allows parents to share concerns, offer advice, advertise services, buy & sell items and virtually meet others in an online community.”
Carrie & Rebecca