stocking up and taking stock


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stocking up

I always like to take advantage of the summer and winter sales here to stock up on basic stuff like sheets & towels, so today I went out to see what I might find and ended up with a whole whack of towels and one new set of sheets for me. I thought I was being quite decadent until I checked back on the blog (so handy that) and saw that the last time I splashed out on new sheets was in 2013 (I honestly thought it was much more recent). Then I was shocked to see that my last new towel purchase was a year before that! Well, judging by the state of my towels I shouldn’t have been that shocked, but whatever. Now I have lots of everything, though I still want to get a second set of new sheets for me.

What’s weird is that for at least the past 25 years or so, I have never bought patterned sheets. Or coloured towels. I’ve always had a thing for white or off-white when it came to sheets and towels (and nightdresses too, come to that). Okay, a little embroidery was fine, but no colours, other than in quilts and duvet covers. And suddenly today I wanted these happy bright poppies on my sheets and deep blue for the “guest” (actually roommate) towels. Roommate also got new sheets along with the new bed in May, so I am feeling totally up-to-date in that department.

So what to do with the massive pile of old towels and sheets? Well, what I always do with old clothes and such. I wait until after 8 pm and leave them next to the bins up on the main road near me, in unsealed bags so people can easily see what’s inside. And they are usually gone within an hour or so (municipal rubbish pick up is long after midnight).

I don’t even know what’s “normal” when it comes to stuff like this, buying new sheets and towels. Once a year? Every two years? Three? Also, as I said in another blog post, this has never been a huge priority for me. I always prefer to spend my money on experiences. How about you?

we love tapas is hiring!


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hiringBecome a part of the We Love Tapas Team!

These past couple of “weeks off” have been both relaxing and very productive. Lots of time for new ideas and research with some exciting new stuff coming up soon. As a result, We Love Tapas is now looking for enthusiastic local guides with food and wine experience for our team in Sevilla. After full training, guides will give both lunchtime and evening tours (number per week depending on the season), each lasting 2.5 to 4 hours, and will be expected to attend monthly staff meetings and periodic (delicious) training sessions.


  • Bilingual English / Spanish
  • Native or long-term resident of Sevilla
  • Registered as “autónomo” for freelance work
  • Genuine love of Spanish cuisine and excellent people skills

You will also need to have access to internet at home, and a smartphone, so that you can be kept up to date about your tour bookings, changes and other information.

For more information contact us at:

london getaway 2016!


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Remember back when I was thinking of planning my summer getaways in June? Well, I did book Galicia, but then was left up in the air about whether to go to London or San Sebastián, with part of that decision being based on whether I’d get my renewed passport back in time. And well, it came yesterday! So without another thought I decided to go with London, went online, booked my flights and – eep! – that’s done now. I’ll be there August 2nd – 11th!

Well okay, I did have a few thoughts. I still hadn’t heard back from my SS pal, and if she wasn’t going to be there it didn’t make much sense to go. Then a quick check by Twitter DM asking if various London friends would be around ended up with immediate responses and invitations and whatnot, so I decided to go with London. Flights clearly not as cheap as if I’d booked in June, but what the heck.

I’m going to London!:)

vampire cat


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casa az

Last night I got home late and was getting ready for bed when I took a step back without looking and landed full force on poor Luna’s tail. Her response was to sink her very impressive teeth into my calf – TWICE – before tearing off to hide under the sofa. Well, there was blood everywhere and I had to get into the bathtub to rinse off my leg, and then staunched the bleeding with a betadine-soaked cloth. After the worst was over I spent the next 20 minutes trying to coax Luna out from under the sofa. She finally came out, visibly shaken, and let me pick her up, rub her belly, kiss her head, all that jazz. When I saw she had calmed down I went back to my wounds. The two massive vampire bites on my calf had started to throb and I was reminded of the last time this happened (it was pre-blog or I’d link back) about 15 years ago.

My friend Jim had left his pretty siamese girl Echo with me for a week in the hope that my handsome burman Sunny would get her pregnant. Well, that bit didn’t work out, poor Sunny didn’t seem to know what to do, even when (castrated) Azar demonstrated by mounting Echo several times. Meanwhile, Sunny’s mother Lua was not pleased with having company and one day Echo strayed too close and got a serious whupping. Because I’m stupid I got between them in an attempt to break things up at which point Echo clamped her teeth onto my ankle and Lua walked off in regal disdain.

Then I saw the blood, and so with Echo still attached, I made my way to the bathroom. Finally Echo released her jaws of death grip and ran off, leaving me to bleed all over the bathtub for a good while. That ankle still bears the Mark of Echo to this day. At the time I didn’t think much about it, other than the next day when it hurt so bad I could barely walk, and a friend said I should really get a tetanus shot. Let’s just say it was quite an adventure trying to get a tetanus shot on a Sunday in Sevilla in the summer.

Fast forward to waking up with super painful vampire bites and wondering if I had to get another tetanus shot just in case. Quick call to my doctor confirmed that it was probably a good idea, so off I went to my local medical centre. But when I got in to see the nurse she told me it probably wasn’t necessary (it’s not like in the old days! she said) but since I couldn’t remember my childhood vaccinations, or even when the last booster shot was (other than about 15 years ago) she gave me the injection. I really liked this nurse – she was the sort of no-nonsense and clearly knowledgeable person I like to have in charge of my health. Very likely I won’t need another tetanus shot before I die, which is a good thing because my arm hurts almost as much as my vampire-bitten calf.

When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

sunday song – pat in sevilla


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Not exactly a song this Sunday, though we do have music in this video thanks to my fabulous friend Juan Tarquini (who put the whole thing together for me). Four years ago today my dear friend Pat Steer died. I met her on a cancer forum back in 2008 after we’d both been diagnosed with stage 4 variations of colon/rectal/liver, etc. And she became not just a friend but my sister and my hero, the no-nonsense voice of reason, the one I knew would never bullshit me, the one who loved me too.

Just before Pat died she expressed sadness in her final blog post about (amongst other things) not having ever been able to come on one of my tapas tours, so I obliged by going all around town to some of my favourite places and (badly) filming a typical tapeo with her included.

Juan did his best with the mess of clips I left with him, and Pat said it took her at least four times to get through it, because she kept breaking down in tears. But finally she watched it all and loved it. And I still love her and always will. Four years ago today I lost her, and I still miss her so very much. Strong thoughts, my darling. xx



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urinarioBack in the “old days” women in Spain (as in many countries) weren’t allowed in bars, so of course there was no need to have a toilet for them to use. You can still sometimes come across old urinarios like this one, which didn’t even used to have doors on them. This relic is in one of my favourite sherry bars, Manolo Cateca, and is basically a small closet with a urinal in it. The bar is so tiny that there really isn’t space for a proper toilet, so Manolo has a deal with the bar across the alley and his clients can use the facilities over there. Those Tío Pepe bottles look like they are standing guard, don’t they?

messiest cook ever


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messiest cook everDon’t judge me. I’m actually a great cook, love cooking. But I’m not tidy about it. Once I get going I tend to leave a trail of destruction in my wake… but the results are always tasty. I’ve tried tidying as I go, but find it gets in the way of the creative process. 😉

Anyhow, in this case I was making a tortilla and some other snacks that would end up being mostly consumed by flatmate Peter. In return he does the washing up. Win win! Because I’d never make all this stuff just for me. What’s your cooking style?


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