lama la uva 1st anniversary


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Thursday was the first anniversary of Lama La Uva. Time sure flies, as it doesn’t seem like a whole year has passed since I went to the opening party. It’s great to see Ana doing so well and it’s clear to see how much she loves what she’s doing. Her wine tastings have become very popular and other people, myself included, are also using her upstairs tasting room for our own tours and events.

Congratulations Ana! Here’s to many more years.

tasting sherry


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I’m happy to report that my Sherry Tastings have become quite a success. Different from my Sherry & Tapas Tour in that, although there are snacky food pairings during the tasting (to me sherry is always better appreciated with food, especially by “novices”), it is a more concise introduction to sherry, lasting about 1.5 hours. At the moment I’m working with a few different venues, looking for the best “fit”, though it may turn out that I end up with more than one option. It’s all good!  🙂

clearing out the past


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I’ve had these two (very dusty by now, as you can see) plastic boxes in various “storage” situations over the past 15-20 years or so. Mostly old photos and letters and, other than some family pics from Canada, mostly stemming from my new life in England, and then Spain. A few years ago I tried scanning some of the photos, but it was such a labourious task that I soon gave up and put the boxes back into storage.

When I moved to the new Casa Azahar in August these boxes were put directly in the storage room upstairs, and may have stayed there indefinitely except that this past weekend I decided to put the electric fans up there until next summer. The movers had just placed stuff in the room willy-nilly and it was jam-packed, so it was time to tackle this issue.

And so, with the help of my trusty best friend (and former flatmate) Peter @svqconcierge, we took everything out of the storage room, and I ruthlessly tossed about three more boxes of this and that, making space and, frankly, clearing my mind. It was such a relief to get rid of more unneeded STUFF. But the two boxes of photos… I couldn’t just toss them without going through them first. In this photo you can see what remains of the first box, which was reduced to what is now in that plastic bag in front of the second box. One down, one to go…

Meanwhile, I would like to find an easier way of digitalising the photos I want to keep, because I’d rather just get rid of all the actual photographs and have them on my computer. So, does anyone know of a good photo scanner app? Preferably something I could use with my iPhone?

For his much-appreciated efforts, Peter was treated to Sunday lunch, which also gave me a chance to try out the oven here. It was a bit hit and miss, but I eventually got it to work, though I’d much rather be using the new oven I bought last Christmas (more on that later). Anyhow… great lunch. And a good day with lots accomplished.

Garlicky-herby roasted chicken, boiled skin-on potatoes, grilled courgette.

iPhone number 5?



It’s here! The iPhone X is now in the shops and I’m finding it very hard not to, ahem, upgrade. I’ve had four different iPhones now, so this would be my fifth. My present 6S is actually working just fine, but I’m keen to have a larger screen and – especially – the new camera. But the price is a bit crazy and so I’m finding it hard to justify this one. Anyone else (other than my friend Victor) have one yet?

freebies for “exposure”



So this came up for me again this week when I saw that a random food blogger (who had been in touch with me awhile back, suggesting they would like to write about my tapas tours – nudge, nudge, wink, wink) had actually landed a freebie tour with a corporate food tour company here, and were tweeting about them, as promised. And all of me went … ewwwwwwwwwwww.

You see, I’ve been getting requests like this for years. And while I know how most restaurants feel about such requests (they hate them with a passion) I wondered how other food tour companies felt. As in… hey, give us a free food tour for “exposure”. The “us” usually includes a friend or partner, since these people tend to be here on holiday, not for work, and think a promise of a blog post means they get to dine out for free. And to be honest, none of the bloggers who have asked for (or insinuated they wanted) a freebie has ever been anyone of consequence.

On the other hand, proper journalists always offer to pay for their tours – and rightly so – since they are here in Sevilla at the behest of their employers, and have a budget that allows for this. To wit I have been featured in some pretty top notch publications, including the Sunday Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, National Post, Telegraph Travel… to name a few.

Other times I end up “meeting” food and wine writers on social media – usually via Twitter or Instagram – and when I find out they will be visiting we will either meet up for a drink and tapa and a chat, or – if they want a full tapas tour – they offer to pay the bills if I would take them around. And you know what? This I don’t mind at all. Because I am already “connected” with these people, even if we haven’t met in person yet, and I want to spend some time with them. And they also respect that this isn’t my hobby. So if I am willing to spend an afternoon or evening taking them out, then at least they are happy to pay for the food and drink so I don’t end up out of pocket. Fair enough.

But some other food tour companies here obviously think offering food bloggers freebies is “good for business”. And who knows? Maybe it is. For them. But when I look at these random bloggers, and then I look at the people, serious food and wine writers, who actually respect my work enough to pay for it, I know which camp I’d rather be in.

the mysterious case of the missing duvet cover


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This photo was taken last November, shortly after I bought a new duvet, ALONG WITH A NEW DUVET COVER (as you can clearly see). And now that the nights are growing cooler, this week I decided to get out the duvet and cover and get them ready for use. Except, I couldn’t find the duvet cover. Anywhere. Which is ridiculous because… where would it go??

Okay, I know that I moved last summer and sometimes things do go missing during a move. But everything else that was moved from my bedroom (including all other bedding, towels, etc) are here, exactly where they should be. It doesn’t make sense that I would have unpacked the duvet cover and… put it somewhere else?

Anyhow, there isn’t really anywhere for it to hide. I looked through every drawer and cupboard about ten times, before deciding I was in danger of becoming the definition of insanity (repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome each time). So I did the only logical thing left to do… which was to buy a new duvet cover. Which is now being washed and will be hung up on the rooftop tonight to be fresh and ready to use tomorrow.

Which is no doubt when the old duvet cover will miraculously turn up…