Category: Lifestyle

Fiesta time in Quesada

The urbanisations of Ciudad Quesada have grown bigger than the mother town of Rojales and their importance is recognised by their own fiestas, which are in honour of San Justo. One of the emperors’ chief persecutors of Christians in the early years of the 4th century was Diocletian, who journeyed through Spain in a frenzy of violence demanding all Christians renounce their faith. Two schoolboys, Justus (age 13) and Pastor (less than 9), were determined to show that their Christian faith was strong and publicly recited their catechism.
Diocletian ordered that they both be savagely flogged, but neither flinched and shouted words of encouragement to each other instead. Furious and shamed by their bravery, Diocletian had them killed secretly. Both were martyred in the early fourth century.
Each year the Patron fiestas begin with a giant paella in the Plaza Blanca. However, the fiestas will get properly underway on Thursday, 2nd August with a Latin night and disco, a concert and disco on Friday, children’s activities and the Charanga Parade on Saturday and the religious procession, more music and entertainment and, of course, fireworks on Sunday.
Councillor for Fiestas Charo López González said: “I would like to highlight the interest, work, enthusiasm and effort of a large number of people who have given their best to make these festivities a source of joy, fun, respect and especially to highlight the essence of Rojales: a place of integration of a large number of cultures and languages, enabling our society to grow in stature.”
Mayor, Antonio Pérez García added: “August may be very hot but it is also time for the celebration of a large number of festivals, such as the Fiesta we organise in Ciudad Quesada in honour of Saint Justo.
“These are days of fun and joy for the people who live in the urbanisations, who are an essential part of our municipality of Rojales, a municipality which integrates various cultures, gastronomies and languages. Let’s experience and enjoy these Fiestas to the full but with respect.”
9:30pm – NOCHE LATINA in the Plaza Blanca of Ciudad Quesada with dance performances by the dancing school “Sofía Sánchez”. To follow, Mobile Disco. Organised by HOLDING GROUP BARCELO with the collaboration of the Department for Fiestas of Rojales Town Hall.
10:30pm – Grand Show by “CONECTADOS BAND”. International repertoire. To follow, Mobile Disco by Sonotec Studio till 5:30am. (All these events will take place on the stage which will be mounted on the Plaza Blanca of Ciudad Quesada).
From 10am to 2pm – Grand Park for Children containing water bouncy castles in the Plaza Blanca of Ciudad Quesada. Don’t forget your swimsuit and towel!
9:00pm – Mobile Disco by Sonotec Studio on the Plaza Blanca of Ciudad Quesada.
10:00pm – Summer Carnival parade (same route as in previous years). Everyone is welcome to participate. Registration at the Tourist Info of Rojales Town Hall. Cash prizes for the best fancy dress costumes!
Followed by Mobile Disco till 5:30am.
10:00am – The Band “Agrupación Musical Los Solfamidas” of Rojales parading round the streets.
10:30am – Holy Mass in honour of San Justo in the “San José” church of Ciudad Quesada. Following the Mass, a pilgrimage will take place in the area around the Church in honour of San Justo.
10:00pm – Performance by the dancing school “Sofía Sánchez” and the group “La Espartera”. Enjoy an evening of dance & rumba.
12:00 midnight – Fireworks by Pirotecnia Ferrández of Redován.

Calling all singers!

Do you like to sing? Alone in the shower or with friends? Are you in a choir and looking for
something a little different to enjoy as a group? Or Maybe you have never sung in a group
before? Whichever of these, we can help you.
In just one weekend this coming October, the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers
(SABS) offer a unique opportunity to singers everywhere to learn a cappella four-part
If you like to sing and have never tried this before, you will love it and if you are an old hand,
there will definitely be something new to learn from fabulous champion quartet, PZAZZ,
who are being flown in from the UK, especially to work and sing with us.
So put 6 th to 8 th October in your diary and enjoy this special weekend. It’s not too late to sign
up and get your teach tracks and music, just go to the website: and click on the
Harmony College tab for full information.
Singers of all ages will be very welcome and can enjoy singing in a men’s, ladies’ and mixed
chorus. You will be learning two a cappella songs during the weekend.
The event will be based at the Hotel Costa Narejos in the lovely resort of Los Alcázares in
Murcia. The Hotel Costa Narejos is by the beach and you can bring your family if you would
like to.
SABS is very keen to spread the joy of learning a cappella (singing without a backing track)
throughout Spain.
“We had a wonderful time at our last event which is open to everyone who likes to sing” said
SABS President, Lyn Baines, “It’s a great weekend, with a chance to make new friends as
you sing together. Yes it’s quite hard work but such fun too. On the closing afternoon,
everyone will get a chance to perform to an invited audience of family and friends.”
Lyn goes on to remind us of the relaxation time “Get to know your new friends better at the
‘Afterglows’ at the end of each day. This is a very unique time when people get together to
chat and sing.”
Full details of the SABS Harmony College can be found at
search/harmony-college- 2017 or email to find out how you can become
involved in this very special weekend. Places are limited and are being snapped up fast, so
please make sure you register today; we don’t want you to be disappointed.

edition 29/08/17

Lost god son
A close friend made me godmother to her son when he was born 12 years ago.  I have taken
my responsibility very seriously and have made a point to be in his life.  Since then my friend
and her husband have split up, her husband moved to Australia and my god son went with
him.  I have lost touch with his mother.  I wrote to the boy’s father saying I still wanted to be
in my god son’s life, but he said he wants to cut all ties.  What can I do?
Sadly there is nothing you can do until the boy reaches 16, when you could try and get in
touch then via Facebook.  No doubt he will remember you, but four years for a youngster is
a long time.  I imagine this boy will have other things on his mind when you do get in touch,
so don’t expect for there to be any big reunion.  If the father is preventing all contact, I am
afraid you might have to let this go, and try to move on yourself.
I want to say sorry
I am ashamed to say that when I was at school I was unkind to a girl in my class.  I don’t
know why I did it, but it happened.  Now, years later I think about it and am very
remorseful.  The other day I saw this girl in a supermarket and felt I should have said
something, but I was too nervous and the moment passed.  Then I got an invitation to our
school reunion, so I am wondering if I should go and apologise.
If you definitely know this girl is going to the school reunion, then I would go and tell her
you are sorry.  If you are able to contact her beforehand I would do this, as she may not
want to go to the reunion because of her bullying experience.  Try and get in touch with the
organisers and see if you can get in contact with her via that route first.  We all do stupid
things when we are young, and then live to regret it.  You will be doing the right thing.

Omeprazol use causes concern

Overuse of Omeprazol sparks GP concerns
Doctors in Spain have warned against ‘excessive and inappropriate use’ of the stomach-protector pill Omeprazol, saying it can lead to infections in the digestive system, reduced absorption of vitamins and even cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. One in three patients who take Omeprazol regularly should not be doing so, GPs reveal.
Although prescriptions for it have not increased in the last few years – quite the opposite, says digestion specialist Dr Mercedes Ricote – it can be purchased over the counter, leading to many taking it without medical advice.
Dr Ricote, of the Digestion Working Group wing of the Spanish General Practitioners’ Society (SEMERGEN), says Omeprazol is one of the most-consumed anti-acid drugs in Spain, both as a treatment for stomach acid itself, or taken prior to doses of other medication which can cause nausea and burning.
According to the ministry of national health, nearly 54.4 million boxes of Omeprazol were sold on prescription in 2013; then 53.6 million in 2014 and 52.3 million in 2015, showing that although fewer GPs are advising patients to take it, the drug is still being taken ‘excessively’.
“The point of Omeprazol is to protect the stomach against harsh medication, but the general public uses it because they believe it makes them feel better or that it stops the side-effects of drugs altogether,” Dr Ricote explains.
“Some mistakenly take it as a solution for stomach acid, and many even do so to avoid feeling bloated and full before a heavy meal or drinking session – which is definitely not what it’s for.
“It’s not designed to be used as an occasional treatment for one-off incidences of acid; it is for when the patient suffers acid two or more days a week, and in that case, it will be prescribed as part of a continual treatment programme and only when your GP sees fit.”
Omeprazol abuse alters the Ph balance in the digestive system, which can lead to infections such as salmonella, cause severe diarrhoea, and prevent crucial vitamins – particularly B12 – from being absorbed.
Also, patients who buy it over the counter to treat stomach acid instead of seeing their doctor are, effectively, delaying diagnosis of the real cause of their discomfort – which, although rare, could be as severe as gullet or stomach cancer, Dr Ricote warns.
“Although not a frequent side-effect, overuse of Omeprazol can lead to magnesium and calcium levels dropping – especially if it is taken for a long time – and this can be so severe as to lead to risks of fractures.
“We’ve seen patients who have used the drug to excess and suffered broken hips, wrists and even vertebrae as a result.”
Dr Ricote says GPs need to try to ‘educate’ patients about the correct use of Omeprazol and pharmacists should quiz customers about why they are buying it to ascertain whether they really need it.

Exciting new addition to the local dining scene

Zenia Garden – Asian Restaurant
(Located at The Celtic Isle, where the Saturday Market Starts)
Friday 10th February
So what to expect…
Cooking over 100 varieties of different style meals requires a good memory, to do so efficiently and most important with excellence requires a Chef of exceptional talent. Chef Guan our head chef is such a man. Chef Guan explains, “I started my training as a fifteen year old, where it was instilled in me to produce good food, the most important starting point is cleanliness, a clean kitchen is an efficient kitchen. In this regard I believe customers have a right to check my kitchen if they wish.”
Now in his fiftieth year, Chef Guan has thirty-five years’ experience in cooking Asian food, twenty one as head chef, initially in Xia Men China, than Hong Kong where he catered for the expat (mainly British) comunity.
As a consequence he knows the requirement of the British, Irish and North European palate. He moved to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria some twelve years ago, where the clientele was mainly British and North European tourists. Along the way he was awarded the Chef de-excellence London China Town 2012, so his knowledge of what you the customer requires is extensive. Chef Guan will be supported by three additional Chefs, all of whom meet his standard of excellence.
Management is under the control of Lin Jin Wei, many of you will recognise him from his work locally over the years. Lin speaks Spanish, English and as he says German with some difficulty, his jovial nature and consideration for customer satisfaction, will add to your dining experience.

Summer is cooler in the North

Burgos is a city which has seen the presence of notorious warriors like Napoleon Bonaparte, The Duke of Wellington, and many of the Catholic monarchs. A city which has played a major role in the history of Spain . What a pleasant surprise therefore to find a beautifully built, well preserved old city, with sturdy old stone walls, an ancient city gate, magnificent cathedral and beautiful tree lined walkways along banks of the river Arlanzon. All this sitting below a medieval castle which sits astride the hilltop overlooking the city. As our hotel is based in the centre of the city there will be plenty of time to explore everything on offer.
An excursion takes us to the city of Santander, on the northern side of Spain, extending over a wide bay with views over the Cantabrian sea. Its historic quarter includes a group of impressive buildings which are situated against the natural backdrop of sea and mountain. Main attractions are the Cathedral which is one of the oldest buildings in the capital, The Menendez Palayo Stateley Home which has been declared a historic artistic site.
Another excursion to Logroño and the Rioja wine country. Logroño is a small city which more than anything is famed for its tapa bars. This is a day of indulgence because immediately after spending the early part of the day sightseeing and trying out the tapas, there is a visit to one of the largest and most famous vineyards and bodegas, not just in Rioja country, but in Spain. At the end of an exciting bodega visit, you have the chance to sit on the balcony sipping a glass of Rioja wine whilst surrounded on all sides by the vineyards and mountains of Rioja.
This 6 day 5 night excursion is based in a 4* City Centre Hotel on a Bed & Breakfast basis & includes bodega entry. 25 -30  June. ONLY 319€ `per person.   
The historical city of Valladolid is a sizeable town with a population of approximately half a million and under the rule of the Habsburg King Charles III was, for a few years from 1601 to 1606, the capital city of Spain. The Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Ferdinand were married here, Miguel Cervantes, author of Don Quixote,  worked here and his former home is now a museum, and Christopher Columbus died here and as a result his home was also converted into a museum.. Now a thriving modern city, with broad avenues, palaces, churches , squares. and plenty of street cafes and bars to rest in and our city centre hotel gives you the ideal base in which to explore this wonderful city.
Valladolid : A city situated t
An excursion to the charming little town of Peñafiel which sits on the banks of the River Duero is surrounded by more vineyards than you are ever likely to see in your life. An impressive castle towers over the town.  This castle even has its own underground bodega.  In Plaza de Coso from time to time bullfights are held. The plaza is surrounded by a ramshackle selection of old, mainly wooden houses. Traditionally the balconies on these houses are rented out on bullfighting days to allow the better of to watch the festivities in relative safety. The less well of take their chances standing outside the bar, with the option of rushing into the bar if the bull comes their way. This excursion includes a visit to the Castle and a bodega.
In July the nearby town of Sepulveda celebrate their festival of fire.  After a day of festivities, all the lights go out at midnight and a torch lit procession through the town completes the days festivities.  A wonderful
sight to see and a chance to enjoy one of Spains different fiestas.
This 5 day 4 night excursion is based in a 3* City Hotel on a Bed & Breakfast basis and includes entry into the Castle & bodega in Peñafiel.  12-16 July.  ONLY 299€ per person..
These excursion will be  accompanied by a well informed English speaking courier who will help you to make the most of your visit. Great value for money and an experience not to be missed.
 Reservations can be made by phone on (0034) 966785910 or online at

Increase in cancer cases

Cancer cases in Spain
Cancer cases are increasing in Spain – and in most other countries – spurred largely by the fact that people are living longer. Figures released last week by Miguel Martín, president of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), show that in 2015 there were nearly 248,000 newly diagnosed cases, representing a rise of almost 15 percent from 2012. The figure also overshoots the SEOM’s own forecast for 2020 by about 1,000 cases.
The data show that one out of every two men and one out of every three women will have cancer at some point in their lives, said Martín.
This proportion is already a reality: of the 247,771 cases – according to the best available estimates – diagnosed cases in 2015, close to 149,000 (representing 60 percent) were men. There are several causes for this: genetic, biological (due to different hormones and organs) and behavioral, said the SEOM president. And men’s higher consumption of alcohol and tobacco increases their risk factors.
“Yet more than half of them will be cured,” added Martín to illustrate the huge progress made in the field of cancer treatment.
However, not all types of tumors have benefited equally from the medical advances. Of the 28,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year, around 21,000 result in death. In contrast, there are around 27,000 new cases of breast cancer annually, and 6,200 fatalities, underscoring the greater therapeutic options in the latter case.
The most common types of tumors in Spain are bowel cancer (41,000 cases a year), prostate cancer (33,000), lung cancer (28,000), breast cancer (27,000) and bladder cancer (21,000). Globally, the most common cancers are lung, breast, bowel, prostate and stomach.

Ask Sara

Ask Sara
Our relationship expert answers your questions

Feelings for old flame
Out of the blue, an ex boyfriend from my past contacted me on Facebook.  All the old feelings I felt for this guy have returned.  He dumped me all those years ago for another woman – the one he married.  I suppose I shouldn’t have encouraged the exchanges of conversations, but I did and now I am confused about my feelings for him.  Before he got in touch, I was happy with my husband, and we have children together.  He is divorced and has no ties.
Cultivating relationships on social media can be quite seductive, and can put otherwise happy relationships under threat.  You say you never doubted your relationship with your husband before this ex got in touch?  You risk losing your happy marriage if you don’t sever ties with this man.  Your behaviour may have changed, and it is possible your husband may suspect something.  You also say this ex boyfriend dumped you to marry someone else.  Is this man really what you want?  He got in touch with you again only after his divorce.  Please do some hard thinking about how you proceed.
I can’t live like this
My wife and I have been married for three years.  Our relationship has been heading downhill since we wed.  She rarely wants to be intimate, and that side of things has been very infrequent.  I’ve talked to her about it, but she says we are different in that respect, and she doesn’t need it.  Now she has said she wants a baby, ‘to bring us together’ and I am against it.  I don’t think a child will mend things between us, and I think I will regret being tied down for the rest of my life.  I have remained faithful to my wife but she doesn’t understand that that part of my life is vital to me.

Bringing a child into an unhappy relationship is never a good idea.  If you can’t patch things up and get your libidos in tune, then the relationship is heading for the rocks.  I would recommend counselling if you feel you want to try to save the relationship.  Otherwise, if your heart really is not in your marriage, then you should consider going your separate ways.  Either way, talk things through with your wife.
Write to Sara in confidence.  A pseudonym will be used if you wish.  Sara reads all letters and can give a personal reply.  Email your question to or Sara is available for private consultations, telephone 650 054 467.

Beating the winter blues

Use nature to keep well this winter

Beating the winter blues
With the change in weather comes the inevitable coughs, colds and sore throats of the winter months. These herbs can ease the symptoms and some may help prevent illness altogether. According to leading herbalists using teas, extracts and supplements from  natural-foods stores will help keep us fighting fit over the festive season.
A go-to herb for colds, this plant (Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia) may help support your immune system to fight viruses. The root, leaves, and flowers are all medicinal.
How to use: Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tincture (herbal extract) every two hours until symptoms are gone. Echinacea also comes in tea blends
The classic form for elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a tasty syrup: European studies have shown it to be helpful for seasonal flus (talk to your doctor before using it for H1N1, or swine flu).
How to use: Follow package directions for the syrup at the first sign of symptoms.
The flower form of the elder plant (Sambucus nigra) can induce sweating, which may help reduce fever.
How to use: Look for elder in cold formulas. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a teaspoon of dried elderflower. Steep 10 to 15 minutes then strain. Drink up to three cups per day. Or make a tea that combines elder, echinacea, and a pinch of peppermint.
A cup of tea made with ginger (Zingiber officinale) can help ease congestion and warm the body, which helps your system fight infection. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good sore-throat remedy, too.
How to use: Simmer fresh or dried ginger for 20 minutes; strain and add a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Incorporate ginger liberally into stir-fries and soups.
Loaded with antibacterial compounds, fresh or dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a cold-season powerhouse.
How to use: Use fresh or dried thyme in stews and soups. To make a steam, pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a pinch of fresh or dried thyme, turn off heat, and create a tent by draping a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe in steam for five minutes.
With antibacterial and expectorant properties, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) can loosen congestion and help you breathe easier.
How to use: Pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, turn off heat, and drape a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe for five minutes. Safety note: Do not use essential oils internally.
Also known as Siberian ginseng, this well-studied herb (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help your body resist the effects of stress and boost your immune system.
How to use: Take in tincture or capsule form, or make an immunity chai by blending eleuthero with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain; drink two to three cups daily.
Common culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) can help to ease sore throats and dry up sinuses.
How to use: For a sore throat, make a strong tea by pouring 4 ounces of water over 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh sage. Cool to room temperature. Gargle until the mixture is gone. Repeat three times daily. For drippy sinuses, drink a cup of regular-strength sage tea.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has immune-boosting and throat-soothing properties that make it an excellent addition to cough and cold formulas.
How to use: For coughs, make a tea that combines mullein leaf with a pinch of licorice. People who have high blood pressure should avoid this herb
Skin therapy
Dry and flaky skin is a common complaint in the winter time. Cold, dry winter air sucks the life out of silky, smooth skin. There are many lotions and moisturisers, but most come with a hefty price tag. Natural home remedies are not only cheap, but also quite effective in nourishing and hydrating dry skin back to a healthy state.
Olive oil contains many antioxidants and healthy fatty acids that are good for your skin. It can soothe and condition dry skin all over your body.

About a half an hour before taking a shower, rub some olive oil on your hands, legs and other areas with dry skin and massage lightly. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturizer.
Mix two tablespoons of olive oil, four tablespoons of fine brown sugar, and one tablespoon of honey. Rub this homemade scrub on your dry skin using light, circular motions for a few minutes. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturiser.

Honey is considered one of the best natural moisturisers loaded with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. It helps lock in moisture to make your skin extra soft and smooth. Plus, honey has many essential vitamins and minerals that help improve your skin’s health.

Before taking a bath or shower, rub honey all over your body and leave it on for five to 10 minutes. Repeat daily to enjoy well-moisturised skin.
Mix honey and olive oil with brown sugar and gentle rub in circles onto your face as a exfoliating scrub.

Yogurt is an excellent skin-hydrating agent. Plus, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe dry and itchy skin. Also, its lactic acid content helps get rid of any germs or bacteria that may cause dryness or itchiness.

Apply fresh yogurt on your hands, face and legs and gently massaging it into your skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then take a bath or shower. The mild exfoliating action of yogurt will remove dry skin and leave your skin refreshed. Do this once every day for irritated skin conditions.
Mix one-half cup of yogurt and three tablespoons of mashed or blended papaya. Stir in a few drops each of honey and lemon juice. Apply it on your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Do this once a week for added hydration.

Coconut oil is really good for treating dry skin. It has a good amount of fatty acids that make up for any loss of moisture from the skin.

Liberally apply warm coconut oil all over your body before going to sleep. Wash it off in the morning. Do this daily to make your skin soft, smooth and silky to the touch.
Or apply coconut oil on your dry skin after you take a bath or shower. When the skin is warm and supple from your bath, coconut oil is more readily absorbed.

Avocado is packed with fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that help improve skin from the inside and out. The high vitamin A content helps in skin maintenance and repair to restore smooth skin.

Mash the pulp of an avocado into a smooth paste. Rub the paste all over your dry skin. Let it sit on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse it off with cold water. Repeat the process once a day.
Mash one-half of a ripe avocado and stir in one-half cup of honey. Apply the mixture on your dry skin and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Apply this hydrating face mask once or twice a week but not more often than that as it may cause breakouts.
You can also drink a glass of an avocado smoothie daily to increase your intake of healthy fats that will help keep your skin hydrated and moisturised.

You can also use oatmeal to moisturise and relieve dry skin. The high protein content in oatmeal leaves a protective barrier on the skin, which prevents water loss and helps maintain moisture. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are good for the overall health of your skin.

Pour one cup of plain oatmeal into your bathtub filled with warm water. Add a few drops of lavender oil. Soak in the bath water for 15 to 30 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath once a week.
Make a face mask by mixing one mashed ripe banana with one cup of ground oatmeal and then adding a little bit of lukewarm milk. Apply this smooth mixture on your dry skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Use this face mask once a week.