Category: Lifestyle

Connections from the heart

Hello, my name is Jane Troubridge. I have been living in Spain for 11 years and feel very lucky that my three children and two grandchildren all live close to me in Spain. My husband has a successful business here and we feel truly blessed. However, life has not always been so good, in fact,for many years my life was pretty horrendous. The positive I take from surviving those dark days is the experience and empathy that I am able to share with others.
I am proud to be a volunteer of Help Vega Baja and privileged to be the Co-ordinator of a very special team of compassionate Help Vega Baja volunteers called “The Connections Team.” My family is the most precious thing in my life, closely followed by The Connections Team, whichI consider, my second family.
I was honored to work with the Help Vega Baja committee to introduce a new service to the charity. This wonderful new service aims to provide 24-hour emotional support and guidance to the practical support that Help Vega Baja are, and have been providing to so many peoplefor many years. This service has proven to be immensely successful in helping people take positive steps forward in a times of need, by combining emotional and practical support in a professional and supportive manner. The team currently has 12 carefully trained listeners. Emotional support is available by calling 965021552, 24-hours a day, everyday of the year, or by email at We also welcome people to pop in our meeting places for a cuppa and a chat, these are open Monday- Friday.Times and places advertised on our website.
So, what do we mean by emotional support and how does “Connections” help? We listen to anybody about anything that is troubling them in complete confidence and without judgement. It maybe relationship problems, financial issues, health concerns, anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness, abuse, addictions and many more. Actively listening to someone is a very special gift to give someone. If you think about it in today’s society, how often do we truly listen? I admit that, like most of us, when listening to friends and family I often peek at my mobile or load the dishwasher or perhaps think about what to cook for dinner. However, when on a Connections duty, a listener is carefully trained to be totally focused on actively listening to our callers, for those minutes the listener will shut the world out and give 100% commitment to every word spoken. By doing this we are able to give our callers time and space to gently explore their feelings in a safe and supportive environment, enabling them to offload difficult and sometimes overwhelming emotions. Of course, byhaving no emotional connection to our callers, they will feel comfortable to voice any feelings without fear of hurting our feelings. We continue to provide this emotional support for as long as our caller feels they need us to, and where necessary we can give guidance to practical support with our Help Vega Baja Welfare Officer, Help Vega Baja Committee, social workers, British Consulate, charities, organisations and counsellors.
Over the coming months we are going to be discussing specific issues within the community that we feel the Help Vega Baja Connection volunteerscan help with. The first being loneliness, which is an increasing concern for the expat community. Many people find themselves alone in Spain due to bereavement of a loved one, often with all their other family members and friends in the UK. Sometimes their carefully chosen home in asemi-rural situation enjoyed with a loved one, can leave them feeling isolated, trapped and lonelywhen their loved one has gone.Not wishing to burden their families living so many miles away, these feelings can become despairing.People caring for a loved one 24 hours a day can feel alone with little, if anytime, to socialise with friends or offload the difficulties they face every day.
Some people may feel alone with a problem, they may have many people around them but unable to share their difficult feelings with these people and therefore also feel isolated with distressing emotions. Couples can also feel isolated and lonely perhaps on urbanisations that feel empty in the winter months or unable to get out and about due to physical difficulties, not able to join in activities or socialise. Added to this, is the language barrier.Imagine for a moment someone living alone and not even being able to talk to someone at their local shops, pharmacy, perhaps not voicing anything or understanding any conversation for days on end, not being able to share even the smallest of worries which is a natural thing for us all to do.Connections listeners alsoprovide emotional support with the “Keep in Touch Scheme”.We will telephone people on the scheme who sometimes feel lonely or isolated,on agreed days for a chat. This is a very important part of our service, providing our community with a friendly voice and listening ear as this may be the onlytime they have had an opportunity to chat in days. Chatting through day to day worries can prevent these feelings from escalating and building layer upon layer of distress, which may lead to overwhelming emotions of despair or suicidal thoughts.
In addition to Connections and the Keep in Touch Scheme, Help Vega Baja are proud to announce their new Befriending Service. This new service provides a volunteer to go along and sit with someone, have a chat over a cup of teaand maybe more importantly, provide a carer with a few hours to themselves whilst their loved one has someone to keep them company. Our volunteers also visit people who are lonely and perhaps unable to leave their home through physical disability and therefore have little, if any, interaction with others. We are also happy to visit people who are residing in a nursing home. Many elderly people have limited Spanish, and nursing homes which are predominantly Spanish, can at times be quite isolating. The new Befriending Service and the Welfare team,, which also provide visits and offer advice, work well with the Connections Team and provides well rounded support for people in our community.
Being a listener is one of the best skills I have learnt, I am blessed to be volunteering with such kind and wonderfully warm people and to becontributing to the amazing work of such a successful charity.I find my role immensely rewarding, I often hear the words“thank you for listening”.
If you would like to find out more about HELP Vega Baja, visit their webpage at or their active Facebook page. Anyone interested in learning how to become a listener can contact Jane via the HELP Vega Baja San Miguel Centre on 966 723 733 or 865 661 497

Caterpillars appear earlier each year

A number of sightings of processionary caterpillars have now been reported in the Torrevieja area. This pest creates great concern amongst pet owners as the hairs from the caterpillar can cause a severe allergic reaction. In order to reduce the possibility of pets being affected, the council treats public areas where they have been seen.
One of these recently has been adjacent to Calle Mozart, the street running alongside the natural park in La Siesta. The council placed a warning notice on the gates to the park following treatment in this area to kill the caterpillars. The sign warned people usually using the park that they should not enter for the three days following the treatment taking place.
Costa Blanca People received a request for information from a concerned dog owner living on the street. Her question was why had it taken the council so long to deal with the problem when the first caterpillars had been spotted three weeks previously on the ground in the area across from the Sol Apartments.
The answer appears to be linked to the earlier appearance each year of the caterpillars. In reply, Councillor Carmen Morate explained that the caterpillars are traditionally seen in the spring time but their appearance seems to be brought forward each year. Now, January and February are frequently the months when they are first being spotted.
Although apologising for the lateness she says, ‘It’s difficult to tell when the caterpillars will suddenly appear. It can also be difficult for the company used to exterminate them to react immediately when sightings are passed on. We would like to thank people, however, for the information they send us about where these creatures are so that we can inform the right department and take measures as soon as possible.’


Next Tuesday 19th March is a bank holiday here as Spain celebrates the feast day of San Jose, Father’s Day. The Costa Blanca People will be printed and distributed as usual on the Tuesday. However, if any of our outlets will be closed on Tuesday and would prefer not to receive their usual delivery of papers, please let us know by 12 noon on Friday 15th March. You can let us know by phone on 966 70 10 60 or email to

Milestone for Benidorm Palace

Benidorm Palace will greet its 16 millionth customer this year after 42 years and over 3,500 shows, announced its owner Vicente Climent. The huge cabaret venue and restaurant burst onto the tourism scene on 12th July, 1977 with a show by a Brazilian ballet company.
Climent himself – who was 30 when the venue opened – took over after 13 years and his first commissioned show was a landmark performance with Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyef – a night Finestrat-born musician Climent describes as ‘incredible’.
“Tickets sold out months before the show, and the keenest fans went along in the early morning to watch this world-class performer rehearsing,” Climent reveals.
With seating for 1,600 spectators per performance, and practically every single show being a sell-out, the current owner estimates that this summer, on the 42nd anniversary of Benidorm Palace, customer numbers will break the 16 million barrier. The venue has hosted the Spanish Song Festival and the Miss Spain finals, as well as major international conferences. Benidorm Palace’s complete renovation in 2005 saw it hosting all types of music and dance events, magic shows, comedy nights and acrobat displays in an eclectic programme that is constantly expanding.
“There are no cabaret halls like this left in Europe, and we need them,” Climent said in a recorded interview destined for Benidorm’s Tourism Museum.
“What else is there left to see on the stage at Benidorm Palace…? Everything we can possibly put on, that’s what, and for as long as we can, because my daughter will take over running it when I stop, then my grandchildren will, so it’s always going to stay in the family,” Climent concludes.

Darkness Into Light to host second annual walk in Costa Blanca

Darkness into Light, the global campaign to promote awareness of suicide and self harm prevention has announced that they have formed a charity partnership with Spanish Charity AFESOL Salud Mental, an organisation that looks after all aspects of mental health.
The Darkness Into Light charity walk was formed 11 years ago in Ireland with the charity Pieta House. From its first walk with 400 participants, this has now escalated into a global movement. In 2019, over 200 venues around the globe, with an estimated 200,000 walkers will be taking part in the global walk.
Following a good attendance in 2018, the Costa Blanca Darkness into Light team will be hosting the second annual walk, which takes place on Saturday 11the May. The walk will depart from Gogarty’s Bar at La Zenia at 5:30am and the 5km silent walk will commence towards Cabo Roig, with a beautiful reflective pause at La Zenia beach, where walkers see the darkness turn into light as the sun rises.
To register for the walk and for more detail:
The DIL team can be contacted by email at: or

Emirates cabin crew recruitment in Alicante this week

The airline Emirates is looking for flight attendants in Alicante and is set to hold a recruitment open day this Wednesday January 9th. The airline is also holding recruitment events in Mallorca and Barcelona.
The recruitment conference will be held at the AC Hotel Alicante, starting at 8am.
The airline is looking for “open-minded, attentive, friendly and service-oriented” candidates to offer customers a good on-board experience. Candidates can present themselves with an up to date CV in English, in addition to a recent photograph. Although it is not mandatory, candidates are recommended to complete the online application on the Emirates Group Careers website before attending.
According to the airline, there are a few qualities which will make you stand out on recruitment day. Namely, you’ll be positive, confident, flexible, friendly and very keen to help others. Emirates also requires that candidates are:
• At least 21 years of age at the time of joining
• Arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes
• Minimum height of 160 cm
• High school graduate (Grade 12)
• Fluency in English (written and spoken)
• No visible tattoos while you’re in Emirates cabin crew uniform (cosmetic and bandage coverings aren’t allowed)
• Can adapt to new people, new places and new situations
• Physically fit for this demanding role with a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)
More information on applying, and on the dress code for recruitment day can be found at

Planning the next Habaneras competition

It’s a popular annual event. The International Habaneras and Polyphony Competition will take place this year from 22nd to the 28th July in Torrevieja. It’s an international singing competition that gives the town good publicity and provides entertainment at the height of the summer.
This year will be the 65th version of this event that takes a great deal of planning. Announcements are made throughout the year on the lead up to it and there is always some controversy surrounding where it is to be held and whether any tradition is broken.
Alongside the main adult competition a junior version has evolved. The 25th youth competition will take place on 6th April and there will also be a soloist competition from the 8th to 9th November. The choirs who take part sing a song of their own as well as there being a compulsory element. This year the song that every choir must sing will be ‘Rosita de un verde palmar’. As usual, it is the Cuban ambassador who will raise the flag on the event.
The Habaneras competition has strong links with Cuba. This type of music originated there and was brought back to Torrevieja by its sailors. Boats traded with Cuban ports in a number of products and sailors found themselves the carriers of this singing tradition too. The competition is a time of reflection on Torrevieja’s past and its links with Cuba which go back 500 years to the town of Habana.
Once again the event will be publicised on television by Televisión Española (TVE) and it is hoped that a Cuban personality will be able to attend. The actual event will be hosted by whichever party wins the local elections in May. The councillor currently responsible, Domingo Soler, has expressed his wish that the plans should be sufficiently in place so that whoever is in charge can make sure the event goes ahead with as few difficulties as possible.

Come and Join the Band!

You’ve probably already heard the Phoenix International Concert Band play. They were the musicians who accompanied the singing at Torrevieja’s carol concert in December. Every year they have been entertaining the international crowds in La Plaza de la Constitución with their music.
Whilst continuing with their usual bookings the band has also undergone some changes. They wanted their name to reflect the very international nature of their members. So, instead of being called The Phoenix Concert Band, they are now the ‘Phoenix International Concert Band, Costa Blanca’.
And they are truly international with Dutch, Norwegian and German players alongside players from every part of the UK. They also have a new Musical Director. Capt. (retired) Robert (Bob) Wilson who has brought a new lease of life to the band along with the very able support of Gordon Jamieson B.A. The band now has 26 players with nine extras who support when needed.
The band has set aside its old military image and are moving forward as a more progressive concert band. They have many modern and international pieces in their repertoire including the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Medley’ and Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day in Paradise’. They have a bass guitar, rhythm guitar and keyboard section and are a not for profit group who support many charities in the local area.
The band is growing week by week but they still have vacancies for many instruments and are aiming to be one of the leading concert bands on the Costas. They would welcome new players of all instruments, including strings. Many members are retired professional and amateur musicians but there are no age restrictions or ability barriers stopping anyone from coming along and joining them in playing music.
They are now planning their 2019 season of events and if you think you might like to take part then they would love to hear from you. You can show your interest by contacting Gloria via e-mail or by calling 679 576 591.
Alternatively you can just come along to one of their rehearsals every Tuesday (starting January 16th) from 1.30pm until 4.30pm below the public library at Biblioteca Publica de San Miguel de Salinas calle Vicente Blasco Ibanez. You will be made very welcome and tea and coffee is available during the break.

Celebrate the year with Footwork Dance

It’s been yet another “fabulous” year of dancing achievements for Footwork Dance and as
the year draws to a close the students are now busy putting the final touches to their
Christmas show, “The Voyage” a tour of dance. Directed and Choreographed by Erica Dorrill
you can join the Voyage on Sunday 15 th December at the Casa de Cultura y Musica in Los
Montesinos, leaving port at 7.30pm.
The past year has been an exceptional year for the Studios. The troupe has appeared in the
St Patricks Day celebrations at Cabo Roig , cultural week and fiesta parade in Los Montesinos
and presented a brilliant summer show. The year culminated in two very successful
appearances to full houses at Benidorm Palace – a Time to Shine in May and in November a
charity show, with Stevie Spit and many well known local entertainers.
There have also been outstanding results in the exams taken by the students of all ages, in
particular the recent Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance exams, when there was 100
percent pass mark, 98 percent passing with the top two marks. Highly respected examiner
Miss Heather Rees, who flew over from the UK adjudicated the exams.
Studio principle Erica Dorrill sadi she was exceptionally pleased with the results, especially
Daniela Curtis and Danielle DIckie, who both achieved their intermediate Tap and Modern
with excellent results.
Tickets for “The Voyage” are 7 Euros and are available from the studio in Calle Carlos Diaz,
Los Montesinos or by contacting Erica on 662003823. As in previous years, proceeds from
the show will go to the under privileged of Los Montesinos.

Ibiza No Longer Just A Club Hub

There’s a perception around the world that Ibiza is a place for all-night clubbing, extravagant lifestyle, and celebrity spotting. These are indeed all aspects of the island’s culture. Once an island becomes known as a party destination for the rich and famous, it’s hard to imagine that aspect of the place fading away anytime soon! However, with Ibiza having been firmly on the map for well over a decade now, it seems that people are slowly but surely starting to recognize that there’s more to enjoy there than just the clubs and the high rollers.
For starters it should be noted that even if the clubs are the main attractions, this is still a part of the Balearic Islands, which is to say it’s a Mediterranean paradise! As such, it stands to reason that the surrounding waters would also be among the top attractions, and true to form they do not disappoint. Ibiza is a wonderful place to stroll along beaches and wade into the sea for a warm dip in clear, picturesque waters. And you can also go further. Scuba is the best way to experience the underwater paradise around Ibiza, and there are numerous scuba schools and excursion centers on the island. And for those who want a similar experience but would rather keep it simple, there are extraordinary snorkel spots as well.
On dry land, there is also entertainment and recreation that goes well beyond the clubs, and much of it is on the hospitality front. As an international tourism hub, Ibiza has sprouted some truly wonderful hotels and resorts, several of which offer beautiful pools, relaxing spas, and all the accompanying amenities you might expect. On a similar note, Ibiza is also home to some casino-style resorts, with Casino de Ibiza, situated on the golden mile (a famous stretch of sand) having been named earlier this year as one of the best casinos in the world to visit during the summer. It’s certainly not a bad option if you’re heading to Ibiza for a bit of fun, but you want to keep it more low-key than the club scene.
If you’re less interested in tourist-geared entertainment and more up for exploration, Ibiza also has plenty of pretty and authentic places to tour as well. That is to say, don’t let its reputation fool you into thinking of it as a purely commercialized paradise! The hills and beaches of Talamanca are populated but idyllic; the northern coast is full of interesting hiking spots, seaside forests, and swaths of unpopulated areas; the Old Town is a treat to walk through; the Dalt Vila is a UNESCO world heritage site; and some of the smaller beaches and small surrounding islands make for edge-of-the-map-like exploration. It’s all lovely, and none of it has much at all to do with busy clubs or hotels.
All in all, Ibiza is something of a hidden gem in the strangest of ways. Despite being recognized around the world as a travel destination, some of its greatest charms are often overlooked.

Edition 16 October 2018

Giving up Alcohol
I don’t think I am an Alcoholic but I am aware I am drinking too much and want to cut down. I go out socially a lot, and I find drinking less is very difficult. I decided to not drink at all for a while and stopped going out. It was very boring, and I don’t have any fun. I am depressed when I can’t drink.
The key here is moderation. May be try only going out at the weekends, and watching your alcohol unit intake. Also, if you can get fit and do some regular vigorous exercise, this will help you enormously. Exercise produces endorphins and will make you feel good without feeling the need to drink alcohol so much. Perhaps suggest to your friends that you do a weekly exercise class together. Addiction to alcohol can creep up a person over time, and it can be difficult to control the habit. If you want to enjoy the odd drink and not have give up entirely, then it’s time to act before it becomes a big problem.
Can’t buy me love
In the past I have given my children money whenever they have asked for it – thousands and thousands. Now in my old age, I only hear from them when they want something, and they only stay for a very short while – time enough for me to make a transfer. I know I have brought this upon myself, but how can I change things now?
This is going to be tough I am afraid. You have got yourself, and your children into bad habits, and I am sorry to say that they may not have much respect for you if they know you are such an easy touch. As for wanting to change things now, you can tell them that the last hand-out will absolutely have to be the last, because you simply do not have the money to spare. You must stress that you know they will understand, and you are certain that because they love you, they would not want you to endure any hardship.

Simply Pools – Business profile

Simply Pools was established in Spain in 2016 by Julian and Zoe. Julian has worked in the construction sector since finishing school and during the last ten years, he has worked specifically in the construction of swimming pools. Zoe has many years of experience in business administration, customer service and translation, so provides a link between English speaking clients and the building team. Alongside Julian works his younger brother Ruben, who he has trained, and also David, another skilled builder.
Simply Pools is based in Torrevieja and share an office and showroom with Simply Doors.
Zoe told us, “When we started the business, our main aim was to offer a good honest service with customer satisfaction in mind at all times. We only use top quality long lasting materials specifically for the construction of swimming pools.”
She continued, “Non Spanish speaking clients can easily communicate with us (with someone who is from England, not just speaks a bit of English) without the worry of anything getting lost in translation. Clients deal directly with the builder, there is no middle man or salesperson to complicate things.”
Simply Pools deals with clients who want new pools built from scratch, but also those who already have a pool in need of repair. Zoe explained, “We are able to perform pressure tests on leaking pools and repair broken pipes. We also undertake various remodels including, new tiling, new one piece stone surrounds, LED remote control coloured lights, new pumps and filters as well as various design remodels. For example we have contructed a swim up bar with stools for one client. Jacuzzi benches and tables with seats is another popular option.”
In terms of design, Simply Pools offers a range of beautiful pearlescent tiles in various colours, large marble effect tiles and glow in the dark tiles, which really give any pool a stunning modern look. You can also customise the design of your pool tiles by adding custom mosaic pictures for the floor of the pool and border designs.
On the technical side Simply Pools supply and install automated chlorine, salt and ph machines, swim up jets and a range of waterfall features. Heat pumps are another popular installation providing year round swimming.
Made to measure pool covers help to keep dirt out of the pool and Simply Pools offer both the summer and winter type of cover.
In terms of Simply Pools’ plans for the future, Zoe told us, “We hope to continue to offer the same outstanding service and workmanship as well as continuing to offer new products and the latest technology to our clients. We are fully legal and insured which is very important when choosing a pool company.”
Call Simply Pools today on +34 655 492 050 or email

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