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?

wet combing rocks!

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wet combing

So that’s about half of Morcilla up there, after her first wet combing last night. And OMG she loved it. Then I tried it on the other two this morning (and Morcilla again) with mixed results. Loki and Morcilla swooned with pleasure, Luna was clearly just putting up with it. But afterwards all three of them were not only shed of excess fur, the rest of their fur was sleek and clean (ie, not dusty) and everyone was happy.

This all came about when fellow cat lover Nancy Li asked me on Facebook the other day if I’d ever wet-combed the cats, saying that hers loved it, especially on hot days. So I finally gave it a go and I think we are all hooked on this now. I met Nancy I don’t know how many years ago on the Slow Travel forum, and also met her in person when she and her husband visited Sevilla. We’ve been FB pals ever since. Once again, the power of the internet and social media, bringing people together and – bonus! – helping with your cat grooming needs.

barefootin’

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barefootingHAPPY FEET

One of the many joys of living in Sevilla is that I get to wear sandals 8 months of the year. Which means I still have to wear shoes for 4 months, each day of which makes me feel somehow TRAPPED, especially when I also have to wear tights (socks are bad enough). My toes were meant to wriggle around free, so of course the first thing I do when I get home is kick off my footwear and go barefootin’.

Well, okay, in summer I also give my feet a nice cool wash after being outside in HOT SANDAL WEATHER. And in winter I need to wear slippers to keep my feet warm, but always opt for the soft “fluffy sock” kind of slipper, rather than the ones that are basically shoes with hard soles. In short, whatever is or feels closest to being barefoot is when I feel the most comfortable and my feet are happiest.

And so today, while taking a nice long afternoon break to watch a film (hols at home!) I was struck by a couple of scenes with people at home WEARING SHOES and it occurred to me that this is always happening in films and television programmes. People wearing shoes at home. Like, while they’re cooking or relaxing… today it was a guy lounging on the sofa reading the newspaper and WEARING SHOES. I mean seriously, do people in real life actually do this?

While I was in the throws of The Torcal Incident a couple of weeks ago, Victor asked me if I wore shoes at home or went barefoot. Perhaps he was just trying to take my mind off possibly having to be airlifted out of the place with two broken ankles, but he said that he’d heard that older people (presumably ME) had way better balance if they didn’t wear shoes at home. And again I thought “who the hell wears shoes at home?”

So I ask you… do you wear shoes at home? And if so… WHY?

hols at home

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sandals 2015

So yeah, the BIG NEWS is that I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks off, and possibly longer. Well okay, not exactly OFF in the sense of not working, or going away somewhere, just not doing my tapas tours for awhile so that I can focus on getting caught up on my other work (massive backlog of blog posts and photo editing) as well as work on some new ideas for We Love Tapas. Re: the latter, there are a couple of things coming up this autumn that I think will be very exciting, but I do need some time to get those going properly. Yeah, I know my Trip Advisor rating will probably suffer as a result, with all the posers racking up fake reviews on a daily basis but, to borrow the pithy words of the Divine Marina O’Loughlin… “I don’t hate it because it enables reviews of and tickets for cruel animal attractions, or for its climate of blackmail-enabling entitlement. I hate it because it’s shit.” Suggest you read this article.

Of course it’s great that while I am “away” I can steer my clients towards We Love Tapas, because the team is going to be working all summer long. Meanwhile, my summer getaway plans are still going ahead, with Galicia Getaway booked for the end of August, though I may swap San Sebastián for London, not sure. Or do them both?? Really no idea at this point. All I know is that for the next week or so I am on “hols at home”, which is mostly about doing a lot of research and writing. But it feels great, and I’m also focusing on healthy light eating at home. Feel very privileged that I can work like this, doing things I love, in the way I want to do them. Anyhow, watch this space…

manic monday

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to doThose of you who know me also know that I love to organise, and to feel organised, but every now and then a whole whack of things suddenly need DOING that I hadn’t planned on doing. It all started yesterday when my new MOVISTAR television service went kaput and only basic service was available (not a hardship, but hey, I’m paying extra for the extra stuff), and then I discovered that my big beast of a laptop Sterling was operating on half-battery even while plugged in. Dammit. So I had to shut him down and start using tiny Anchoa until I could find out what the problem was. On top of that I still had tons of tax shit to sort out before meeting with my accountant Sandra today, so when I got up this morning I decided that the Sandra stuff had priority, and somehow got it all done by midday, then I hopped into a taxi to catch her before lunchtime.

Yes, the rest of this post will be just as boring, so read on at your own peril.

After leaving Sandra’s it was time to stop in at La Doma in Nervión, a place I adore but don’t get to often because, well, it’s in Nervión. Thanks to Sandra I now get to La Doma at least four times a year at the end of each quarter (notice last update was end of April) because it’s about a five minute walk from her office. So after possibly a bit too much lunch, my friend/flatmate/cohort Peter and I walked half an hour back to the centre in 44º heat (and hardly any shade). At which point we stopped in at my home away from home Vineria San Telmo for a cold drink and a rest.

It would have been sensible to just go home from there, but I also knew I needed to get Sterling back in action, so we wandered over to FNAC to see if they could help, and 35€ later I had a new multi-jack transformer-charger-thingy. From there it seemed a good idea to stop in at Telefónica, especially when I saw Super Paco was at his desk. And although it took an hour of my life that I’ll never get back, Paco sorted out my billing problems, showed me how to access my account online, helped me choose a new “package” for when my promo one runs out this month, and told me who to contact if I was still having problems with the TV service. Oh, and for 32€ I can get a booster thingy so that the WIFI is stronger upstairs. I love this guy.

Well, by now it was going on 7.00 pm (we’d left the house at 1.30) and we were desperately in need of more cold drinks. But first I had to get a new black fan, which proved impossible, so I got a nice dark green one instead. Okay, it wasn’t impossible to get a black one, but I was being given the tourist treatment (gaaahh!) and took the green one because it was the price I wanted to pay. And it’s lovely, actually. But why quote elevated prices just because I’m not Spanish?

Pit stop on the way home for a frosty cold beer at Bar Alfalfa, which we went to because not much else was open at that hour in the barrio. It was okay for a beer, but I always feel like it’s not very clean (there’s a nasty musty smell when you walk in) and the food is clearly “for tourists”, an odd mix of bruschetta and paella.

Then finally HOME to cranky cats wanting their dinner, AIRCON slapped on, laundry put up on the line, new power cord successfully installed, a refreshing shower and… a look at tomorrow’s To Do list. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing To Do’s every day, it was just kind of nice how it all worked out today, felt quite satisfying. And that I was able to get all this stuff done at a leisurely pace because … I’M ON HOLIDAY. More on that mañana.😉

elbah

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elba

I’ve been following Elbah on both Twitter and Instagram for ages. She is not only as obsessive about posting fab food pics as I am, but a lot of her photos are taken in Sevilla and Málaga. So a few days ago I left a comment under one of her Sevilla food pics that we should meet for a tapita one of these days, and she agreed that this would be a great idea.

Then, when I was walking home from the Sherry On Top event on Wednesday evening, Peter and I decided to stop into Tradevo Centro for a penúltima. On the way in I spotted a spectacular looking fish dish and asked the people sitting at the table if they would mind if I took a photo of it (yeah, I know…). And one of the women said “Are you Azahar???” and we both went a bit crazy then, laughing and hugging like old friends. Of course, it was Elbah. And it turns out we are actually neighbours! So plans are now afoot to do some serious Tapas Research together. LOVE social media…

sherry on top

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sherryontop (1)Sherry and live music on various Sevilla hotel rooftops with spectacular views… what’s not to love? Last night I was invited by Vinos de Jerez to the opening Sherry On Top event at the Hotel Inglaterra. It was great fun, with a sherry tasting (fino, oloroso, cream cocktail) followed by music by local band Los Quiero and more sherry cocktails.

Read all about it on Azahar Sevilla!

beautiful breakfast blueberries

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blueberries

Aside from asparagus season, blueberry season is my next favourite. LOVE having a small bowl of these delicious lovelies every morning with yoghurt. It’s coming to an end now, and soon the blueberries will be double the price and coming from far-flung places around the world. Enjoying it while it lasts.

What’s your favourite seasonal fruit or veg?

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