Friday, August 20, 2010

A tiny lost village... full of surprises

Most of my childhood holidays were spent in this Andalusian tiny village which doesn´t even appear in some maps... My mother is from there and my grandparents and a big part of my family still live there today. For a foreigner who does not know the "real" Spain, visiting this village is a surreal experience... Everyone knows each other (there are less than 200 inhabitants after all!).

During the winter, the harvest of the olive trees takes place. The whole village is busy picking up olives and taking them to the factories, where some of the best extra virgin olive oil in the world is produced. In May, they all celebrate the popular fiestas, where people spend all day outdoors, enjoying free food and drinks, and dancing the night away in the village square to the sound of local bands... During the hot summers - sometimes temperatures reach over 42 degrees! - the streets are empty during the day. The locals, most of them in their 70s, don´t venture out of their cool stone houses until the evening, when it´s a bit, just a bit, cooler outside. Then they go for long walks, chat to each other in the central square, or sit outside their houses, having dinner and watching telly through the window... I still remember when I was a little child, it was so hot inside the houses that some people would sleep on mattresses outside their houses... there was not danger of traffic, as you could count with the fingers of one hand the number of cars in the village... things are a bit more developped nowadays, but there is still a flavour of the old Spain...

Now that I am in Spain looking at the new collections for Nectarina , I usually visit my grandparents there... It´s funny how after such long periods away in England, people still come out of their houses to give me a warm welcome, to kiss me and the girls and to ask about things... It´s like time has never passed... The other day this lady came to say hello and she gave me and my daughter these cute flower rings which she had knitted out of cotton. They were so beautiful and perfect, my daughter was delighted... I thought they would be perfect for Nectarina, it´s the kind of thing British little girls would love for its bright colours and originality... So I asked the lady if she would knit a few, many more to take home with me... It took her for surprise, and she didn´t know what to answer... She has been making them for fun so far, giving them away to friends... But making them in large quantity for money... It took me a while to convince her, but she finally agreed... and today I am going over to pick them up... I am not sure what to expect, but I hope they are as beautiful as the first ones we saw... I will let you know! And better of all, you will hopefully see them on our website soon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to blogging... from Spain!

About time that I got back to blogging... it´s been a few months, but in my own defence, I have given birth and taken my "maternity leave" from all the social marketing in between... But back to work now... and back to really hard work on, which to be honest, has been a bit forgotten for a while too...

I am currently in Spain choosing next year´s summer collection. It amazes me how year after year the designs get prettier and prettier... the colours more vibrant, the styles more sassy, but always keeping it elegant and stylish... in truly Spanish style... I´ve choosen lots of pinks, greys, lilacs... lots of ruffles, flowers, bows... very happy and very Andalusian... That´s what we want to bring to the UK, the light and spirit of this wonderful corner of Spain...

And for those who want to have a real taste of Andalusia, there is still a lot of summer to be enjoyed... Do like Michelle Obama and visit one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, Granada, with its intricate cobbled streets, moorish tea houses, ancient caves where flamenco is sang every night, and, of course, the Alhambra, one of the most emblematic palaces in the whole world. Shop for leather crafts and moorish antiques in one of the many little shops which surround the impressive cathedral or indulge in one of the many restaurants and tapas bars, where delicious tapas still are as they should be, free! Granada is the perfect destination for a long weekend away... and if you are looking for a place to stay, I can recommend a wonderful family hotel run by one of my best friends, the Hotel Cerro del Sol . The hotel is ideally situated, only 10min from the city centre, 40min from the coast and 30min from the wonderful mountains of Sierra Nevada. And with lots of tempting promotions all year round, you will sure find one to suit your budget.

I have to leave you for today. There is so much one-finger typing one can do with a baby in the other arm... :-)