Food Shopping…





Food shopping is one of those tasks that you have to do. Weather you do it online, at a street market or a supermarket. Maybe even a warehouse or a mega mart.

I’ve been here for 13 months now. I’ve gone through bottles of washing powder that stink and make my skin itchy. I’ve bought something that I thought was cottage cheese and it certainly was not. I’ve craved Oak chocolate milk and some decent vegetable stock cubes.

Settled for chocolate milk and now know which stock cubes will give the best flavour, after many, many purchases!

When I first arrived my in laws invited some friends for dinner and I had a list of questions. Where to buy meat, free range eggs, etc etc. I was given some half hearted answers and sent in the direction of the expensive spanglish supermarket. Not the best place seeing as though we didn’t have a car and it is more than 15 km away!

So I experimented. I tried the local supermarkets (it was still a 2.5 km walk into town each day) and when we did get further away I trotted into any supermarket I saw.

As I said, 13 months in, I now purchase most fruit and vegs from an outdoor market on a Sunday. I purchase cat food, box juice and toilet paper from the biggest chain of Supermarkets in Spain Mas Y Mas Carrefour is a once a month run for washing liquid, always two for one. Mouthwash and frozen peas. Booze for Mr E comes from an independent supermarket catering to English, German and Scandinavian clients. We also go to a very Scandinavian supermarket for my pickles and Resin caramel cravings (It’s all the baby’s fault!)

Mrs Green, a rather stylish mature lady who promises to teach me the secrets to perfect bread and making lemon curd in the microwave. Today, I asked her to take me to her supermarkets and to see what new things I could find.

Mr E is for the most part is perfect, however me standing in front of the spice section umming and ahhing about which smoked paprika I want to buy seems to test his saintly patience. So off we went as two ‘single’ ladies. My friend Mrs Green has a husband, Mr Green who suffers as Mr E does when shopping is involved. So we hit a rather well known international chain of supermarkets. I proved good for ‘fun things’ Cheese, jamon, even a swimsuit. As it has a high turn over Mrs Green advised me that you can’t always rely on what will be in store. Shop here- including a hunk of ginger and some button mushrooms came in at 13 euros.

Our next stop was the other huge Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona, where the majority of Spanish people shop. I’ve not been to one and I was impressed. There is lots of variety, even self raising flour.

*Spainards don’t do self raising flour. You have add the self raising to the regular stuff. I was even able to purchase tofu for Mr E. Shop here came in at 20 Euros, including some fresh yeast and some baked beans!

Mrs Green was super helpful; from what washing up gloves are the best, to what is the Spanish equivalent of Napisan/bread flour/ Worstershire sauce. It seems like a no brainer, with I-phones to translate and pictures on most packets-right? But its not, and on top of getting yourself to the supermarket, a list, reusable bags, getting used to saying Hola to everyone you meet it can be a big job.

For my English/Spanish readers. What if someone was to take you around to the supermarkets when you first arrived? Do you think it would have helped?

For my Aussie readers, maybe someone new moves in on your street. How about offering them a lift to the local shopping centre and being a tour guide for the day?

Love and Loquats



Essentials Kit

With a friend from Sydney visited a few weeks ago she commented on me having a little organised essentials bag with me. We were out in Benidorm (to show her the sights obviously!)I was absentmindedly touching the street light poles as we went by them.

And then…


I touched something sticky, I hope it was the remnants of an ice lolly and not anything more sinister, always a possibility especially in Benidorm.

I fished out my essentials kit, took out a three ply tissue and sorted out the sticky ickiness.

The whole being a bit more organised came from walking to and from town each day in the fledgling days of our New Life here. I have this curious habit of a runny nose when I walk, especially up hills and there are a few on the way to town. I’d want to have a very light bag to carry home shopping in and was constantly forgetting The Essentials. In the time since I’ve whittled it down and perfected it for me. With being pregnant I’ve added a few more panty liners and some ever essential indigestion tablets.

A few tips on what to use to carry the items in.

I am using my Emirates Socks and eye mask zip bag. Free and from economy.

Don’t use anything to bulky and be realistic about what you will use. This will help you decide on size. Too big and is not convenient and too small and you’ll just give up on using it.

Essentials bag


So this is what I have in there:

Clockwise from top left.

  • Panty liners. More so a thing from pregnancy.
  • A solid perfume. I love these ones from Fragunaud.
  • A little foldable knife or blade. Never be lost without a knife for fresh baguette & Aioli again!
  • A sample of a face cream. Don’t go sample hunting, REPEAT DO NOT GO SAMPLE HUNTING. Simply ask the cosmetic consultant if she happens to have a sample of your favourite moisturiser the next time YOU PURCHASE. Or decant into a little pot yourself. From your pot at home, not the one on the counter!
  • A lip balm. Yes, mine is Christian Dior. Yes it’s expensive but also useful, applied to lips, cheeks and eyes. If I add up all the times I have popped into Boots or Priceline to pick up a cheap lip balm, and walked out with a bunch of things I didn’t need I’d be way better off with a few pots of this!
  • A lipstick. Invest in your favourite colour and brand. Don’t skimp.
  • A packet of tissues. Again, don’t skimp, get a 10 pack of three ply. Hide them in the essentials draw.(see end of the post)
  • An Aspro clear. A friend suggested to me to have one when I was feeling just a bit ‘urgh’ and you know what, it really worked.
  • Some hay fever tablets. For Mr E not me.
  • Some paracetamol tablets.
  • Some medication. I take this everyday of my life. Most people that take a daily med already carry it around. The reason I like having it in here, it means I am always making sure I have in date meds with me.
  • A comb. It’s not much but it ll help in a bind.
  • Some mouth fresh mints. In a pretty tin. Again refillable and the tin means people wont instantly steal the recognisable Tic Tacs.

Now the other tip.

Keep all the items that you will need to refill in one place. The tissues, the Tic Tacs, paracetamol, with a small pair of scissors so you can spend minimal time refilling. Maybe a box or a draw that is out of the way of prying eyes- otherwise you’ll never have any refills when you actually need them.


I’ll be doing an essential make up bag post soon, so keep those peepers peeled!

Love and Loquats.



Work, work, work.

Well, I am not sure several boxes of packing Nisporos is work but it was fun! They are super delicate and its picking and packing time here in Alicante province. The managers of the nisporo farms are here from morning till night.

This time of year is crucial for the area I live. The money makes summer and fiesta time all the more fun. Last year I didn’t understand all these religious and public holidays over the heat of May until September.and now I do. They work so hard all year round for this crop-summer is a well earned rest!

Dino, who manages the farm that surrounds my home, is just the best. She always asking me if I am okay and how is the baby doing. In fact thats how I ended up packing the nisporo. She took me to town for an early morning blood test,then to a cafe for coffee and olive oil toast. As she was driving me back she offered for me to come and see the other farm she works on. A mere 10 minute walk from my house. She put a chair out for me and made me sit (as I am 5 months pregnant) After a little while of taking my very basic Spanish out for a bit of a spin, I wanted to help out. I was given a box of de-stemmed  Nisporo to pack and then a few more boxes. It was very satisfying!

The  packing barn, was full of boxes and now its almost empty. The season will finish this week. The barn door being rolled up will no longer awaken me from slumber. I ll not have an ‘everyday chance’ to speak my Spanish,asking Dino about her daughter who is 8 months pregnant.


nisporo me.jpg

In the coming weeks, the nisporo trees will feel the sting of the chainsaw and the process starts all over again. I’ll miss the buzz, the camaraderie of knowing that everyone in the town is somehow involved in their own or someone else’s nisporo.

Love and loquats

Lea Loquats.xx