Saturday, October 01, 2016

To Málaga, pre-wedding celebrations, Paula and Pedro's wedding, a day with the girls at the Málaga Golf Parador, home again, Oli and her new programme, "Mi Cámara y Yo", 1st October anniversaries and other stories

Saturday 1st October 2016

The 5 of us reunited at Paula and Pedro's wedding on Saturday in Málaga
Hi everyone,

Here I am writing early in the morning on the day of Paula and Peri's wedding, here at the Parador Málaga Golf whilst everyone sleeps.  To put it in context, Paula is the daughter of Eladio's youngest sister, Pili.  She is just 3 years younger than Olivia, so the girls are very close to their beautiful cousin. It's cool and the sun isn't up yet.  It will be a long day, the day of my niece Paula and her fiancé from Málaga, Pedro's long awaited wedding. All the family is here, well nearly.  Most of them arrived yesterday except for Juan and Olivia.  

Olivia wasn't able to get away early from work on Friday and couldn't take the AVE (high speed train) until 9 pm, thus missing the pre wedding dinner. For her new programme Mi Cámara y Yo, she did two reports yesterday. The first one was about a restaurant that serves insects for meals. Imagine. Even worse to make the report a bit more fun, my dear youngest daughter had to eat the ghastly bugs which you can see in the photo below.
Oli doing a report on a restaurant that serves insects for meals!
In the afternoon the subject of her filming was a military themed event location with tanks and all sorts of army equipment.  Here she dressed up in  a bullet proof vest.  I can hardly imagine Oli in the army hahahaha.
Oli in the army hahahaha
Suzy had arrived from London the night before.  Eladio and I set off early on Friday morning in our car with José Antonio and Dolores.  It was to be just over a 5 hour drive.  We stopped on the way at Despeñaperros, the gateway to Andalusia for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Friday, by the way, was Eladio's official birthday and we were to celebrate it all day.
A selfie at the bar in Despeñaperros on our way to Málaga on Friday
The family were all sleeping in hotels in Málaga  - the group of cousins at a small hostal called Vida Mía which belongs to the groom's family.  We preferred to be nearer the beach and had booked 2 rooms at the Parador Málaga Golf. Paradors are state run high quality hotels, always in splendid locations.

We were bowled over by the location of this Parador as soon as we arrived at around 2 pm.
The view of the Parador grounds from our room
The rooms are really nice and are built in blocks of two floors with views of the pool and sea or the golf course.
This was the block our rooms were located in.

Eladio on the ample balcony of our room

It was time for lunch when we arrived so as soon as we booked into our room we made our way to the restaurant, choosing to sit outside as the weather was superb - about 26ºc.  You wouldn't believe that Autumn had come.
Lunch at the Parador on Friday

This superb salmorejo was served as an appetiser
Eladio and I loved our choices but Toño and Dolores who went for the economical season menu were rather disappointed.

If I have to fault this Parador, it's the proximity to the airport with the frequent sounds of the planes flying over. Otherwise it's perfect.  I felt like moving in.  I far prefer to be here surrounded by the beautiful grounds overlooking the sea then in the loud and crowded centre of the city. Málaga is the 6th biggest city in Spain with a population of approximately 600.000 people.

After lunch we wandered down to the beach where there was a private area for the guests of the Parador.  It was very clean and being the end of the high season relaxed and inviting. The water was neither cold nor hot.  It was a fantastic feeling to be there and breathe the sea air and take in the views.
The two brothers on the beach at the Parador - Toño and Eladio

A super moment.  On the beach at the Parador
My 3 companions, Toño, Dolores and Eladio went off afterwards for a lie down.  I preferred to read my book by the pool, occasionally taking a dip.
The pool at the Parador
At around 8 pm we were to meet Suzy in Málaga at the hostal where all the cousins would be staying, Vidamía, in the centre of town which as I mentioned is run by the groom's family.  I had seen Suzy in August but Eladio hadn't seen her since April.  It was to be a lovely reunion.  It was great to see her looking so happy and beautiful and surrounded by the family. She was in her element!!!!
Father and daughter reunited in Málaga on Friday night.

Happy to be reunited with Suzy on Friday night
We then all bumped into the family group on the streets nearby.  There was to be a family dinner, one for the "grown ups" at a bar called Cantarranas and a stand up buffet party for the younger members of the family and various friends of the bride and groom at the bar next door.  Both were great dinners but the young people's party seemed much more fun.  There I was reunited with my ex Nokia friend, Marta and her husband Fran.  For the record Marta is head of communications for Aegon Spain and she is also the bride's boss.  Here we are together.
With Marta, my ex Nokia friend and Paula, the bride's boss on Friday night at the pre-wedding celebrations
Ours was a sit down dinner; all the family on the bride's side and some members of the groom's who of course are from Málaga.
At the dinner for the older members of the family on Friday night
When the meal ended, Eladio's middle brother, Alejandro got out his accordion and that's when the fun began.
Alejandro playing the accordion on Friday night at the pre-wedding dinner
Everyone started to sing and dance. The younger members from the party next door soon joined us and the whole family danced a "jota", even my husband Eladio.

The family dancing on Friday night to the music of Alenjandro playing the accordion
The two parties began to mix on the street outside and here we got to talk to everyone.  Suzy and I were especially happy to see the Father of the bride who had been given permission from the doctors to travel to his daughter's wedding.  He will be operated on when he goes back, in about a week's time. Here he is with Suzy. I have to admit he is one of  my favourite brother-in-laws and one of Suzy's favourite uncles.
Suzy with Andrés, the Father of the bride.
At about midnight the parties broke up. After all we had a long day ahead of us on Saturday with the wedding starting at 12 noon at the St. Augustin church in the centre of the city.

Olivia arrived too late for us to see her on Friday night. She didn't get to Málaga until 11.30 and exhausted from all the filming that day, went straight to the Vidamía Hostal.

We returned to our oasis of peace at the Parador and thankfully I got a good night's sleep, although I woke up with an almighty headache, even though not a single drop of alcohol had passed my lips the day before. After my nasty migraine the weekend before in Montrondo, I will not be drinking any alcohol for quite a while now.  After a couple of coffees and writing about Friday's trip and pre-wedding celebrations, as I had got up so early there was even time for a walk on the beach which was practically empty.  What a beautiful location this Parador enjoys.

We had a leisurely breakfast and oh what a wonderful choice there is at the Paradors. We had to be at the church by 12 and there was plenty of time to get ready. By 11.30 we were all dressed up and ready to leave by taxi which would take us into the centre of town, to the beautiful St. Augustin Church where the wedding would take place.
Eladio and I ready to leave - me in my trusted shocking blue wedding outfit and Eladio in his years' old suit hahaha.
Dolores and Toño ready for the wedding.
We got there early and there was time to get a proper look at the church from the outside before all the wedding guests, some 180, arrived.
The St. Augustine Church
Slowly people arrived. The wedding was supposed to start at 12 but was late - well we are in Andalusia after all where the pace is live is much slower than in Madrid.  My daughters looked lovely. They had both gone to the hairdressers before getting ready.  Here I am with Suzy.
With Suzy at the church
Miguel and Oli looked the perfect couple and I kept wondering if they will ever get married.  I would just love to help them organise a beautiful wedding.
Miguel and Oli
We were all waiting outside for the groom to arrive.  He was a little late and came in looking delighted with his Mother at his arm.  We all clapped when they came.
The groom arriving with his Mother (la madrina)
Pili, the bride's Mother, looking lovely in red was clapping too as they arrived.  In Spain there is no best man. The two most important people after the bride and groom are his Mother (la madrina) and her Father (el padrino).

Spanish weddings are a bit chaotic and protocol often goes to the wind but on Saturday everyone was in the church when finally the beautiful bride and her Father came in followed by the bridesmaids. There was much attention to detail at this wedding which Paula and Pedro had been preparing for more than a year.  I especially liked the way they had prepared the presentation of the wedding rings.
The wedding rings
By the time they arrived I was already crying. I get so emotional at weddings but at this one especially so as it was our family and I have known Paula all her life. She is one of the  most loved cousins.  Thus Eladio had to take the pictures of their magical arrival.
The bride Paula and her Father Andrés coming down the aisle.
The ceremony or mass was very long but beautiful.  This is the moment when the couple, finally married, looked around and when we could see them face to face. What a radiant couple.
Just married.
Suzy was given the honour of giving out the packets of confetti to the guests and here she is at the entrance of the church with the basket.

Suzy giving out the confetti.
Whilst the bride and groom were having photos taken inside and signing their wedding certificate there was plenty of time outside to take photos of the family. We took photos of each individual family and the one of us is the one I chose to illustrate this blog.  You see the 5 of us were reunited and together at Paula and Pedro's wedding. Thank you bride and groom for bringing all the family together.  And here is one of just the 4 of us; not often together either.
The 4 of us reunited at Paula and Pedro's wedding on Saturday
Soon we were all called in for the official family wedding photos.  I think I must have got in the way of the official photographers, but I didn't care and snapped away all day.
With the uncles and aunts

With the cousins
At long last out came the bride and groom and we all threw tons of colourful confetti which the little bridesmaids enjoyed immensely hahaha.
The confetti moment

Finally it was time to leave the church to catch the buses to the wedding party venue, the lovely Hacienda Del Alamo on the outskirts of the city.

We all went by bus but the bride and groom left in a vintage car!!
The bride and groom leaving in a vintage car
The "hacienda" was the perfect location.
Eladio and I at the wedding party location upon arrival.  I just loved the two "Ps".
I loved the two "Ps" at the entrance.  There was so much attention to detail which I, as an event manager, appreciated.

They even created a logo for their wedding. This is it.

Just some of the attention to detail at the perfectly arranged wedding on Saturday

The wedding party which started at about 2.30 p.m . would go on until past midnight. It started with a cocktail party in the grounds of "La Hacienda".
The cocktail party
We were soon joined by the bride and groom for whom there was yet more confettii hahaha.
The bride and groom arriving at the cocktail party
It went on for quite a while and I must say the canapés and finger food were out of this world.  There was loads of time for mingling, talking to the family and meeting other guests.  I was very happy that my friend Marta, Paula's boss, had come too.
With Marta my ex Nokia friend, both in blue, at the wedding
I don't think we went into the lunch until nearly 4 pm - Spaniards do everything late hahaha.  It took place in a beautiful glass porch like building and we were all on tables named by cities. Ours was León and the girls' was Havana (in honor of Miguel and Claudia)
The setting for the lunch

Me with Andrés, the bride's Father

I couldn't have chosen a better menu.

The bride's Mother with her bouquet at the lunch

Suzy and Oli at the lunch

The first course was lobster, my favourite.
But of course we couldn't start until the principal actors, Paula and Pedro arrived. They entered the dining area to a fanfare of music and their male friends waving toy swords.  It was both funny and emotional.  Paula and Pedro then awarded us with a long kiss and I and  many others, broke down in tears. I just couldn't stop crying from joy and emotion. I really have to say this was the best wedding I have ever been too.
Paula and Pedro awarding us with a long kiss at the entrance to the lunch
The lunch wasn't just about eating.  Paula and Pedro had arranged many emotional events, such as the arrival of flowers for their Mothers.
Flowers for the Mothers of the bride and groom
There was an interval for presents for the Fathers too and very unusually for a Spanish wedding, plenty of speeches. Being a very traditional wedding the cake cutting moment was full of emotion too.
The beautiful wedding cake
After cutting the cake, Paula gave her cousin Laura, the next one to be married, the figures of the bride and groom on top. We all clapped and cried throughout the lunch which went on until nearly 7 in the evening.  Afterwards we were all invited to go outside to dance and drink; neither of which did I indulge in but it was nice to change locations and get the chance to mingle again.

Inside the ball room there was yet another surprise.  Photos of Paula and Pedro were shown and then a video was played with greetings from all of us. This time the surprise was for the bride and groom who were delighted.

By 9 pm, Eladio, Tono, Dolores and I were tired and ready to go.  Leaving the party in full swing, we left in a taxi to come back to our haven of peace, the Parador Málaga Golf. Here I was relieved to take off my wedding attire, especially my make-up and chill out on our lovely terrace before falling asleep in bed watching part of a film I didn't even know was about.

I am writing again in the early morning, the day after the best wedding I have ever attended.  10 out of 10 to the newly wedded couple.

But it hasn't all ended.  Today we will be joined by Miguel, Oli and Suzy and will spend the day at the Parador together.

If the wedding had been a long and hectic day, Sunday was to be relaxing.  It was also to be a gift from the heavens as we were to be joined at the Parador by Suzy and Oli.  Toño and Dolores preferred to spend the day in the city with their offspring. We are much more "country mice" and looked forward to a day by the pool and beach; the four of us together.  It is not often we are alone together. After packing Eladio and I settled by the pool which we had practically to ourselves.  Here is Eladio swimming in the round pool.
The empty pool at the Parador on Sunday
The girls didn't arrive till past 1. Coming from their very modest hostal in town, Oli asked us, tongue in cheek, whether we were feeling comfortable at the parador haha.  Indeed we were and wanted to share it with them.  They immediately joined me in the pool this time.  I was delighted to have the two of them with me and not have to share them with everyone; apart from their adored Father of course.

In the pool at the Parador with my girlies on Sunday
The whole weekend was about family, the wedding and of course eating. Soon it was time to eat again and we had a family lunch at the Parador Cafeteria, surrounded by British golfers haha.
A lovely relaxing and delicious lunch with Oli, Suzy and Eladio at the Parador on Sunday
We only had a few hours left after lunch to be together as we had agreed to leave with Toño and Dolores at 6.30 pm.  Oli would be returning at 8 by the high speed train and Suzy's Ryan Air flight to Stanstead wasn't departing until 10 that night.  We returned to our sunbeds, Oli put some music on and we relaxed, talked and read.  Toño and Dolores arrived early and both men were in need of a siesta. We women on the other hand preferred a walk on the beach. When I told Suzy that part of it was nudist, she took off her bikini.  When we got to the nudist beach I suggested we do some "skinny dipping" but only the two of us were game for it.  It was the best moment of the day and one of the most hilarious (the most hilarious would come later hahahah).  And here we are skinny dipping as it is called today.
Suzy and I skinny dipping at the beach in Málaga on Sunday, what a wonderful feeling!
I hadn't bathed in the sea in my birthday suit since once doing it with Eladio some 35 years ago and when we did it it was night time.  On Sunday we did it in full daylight.  I loved the sensation and both Suzy and I laughed throughout the experience.

We were to laugh even more, not long afterwards. As we were leaving the Parador, after checking out, the girls went ahead of us. They walked right through a group of British men golfers standing and I noticed how their eyes goggled at the sight of my beautiful girls.  I couldn't resist saying to them: "Nice sight eh?" to which they replied "oh yes".  I then laughed and proudly told them they were my daughters.  As we got to the car I told the girls what had happened. Oli swore to apologise to the golfers on the way back into the Parador where they would spend more time until their train and flight and explain that their Mother was undergoing psychiatric treatment.  I laughed till I cried as we left in the car to drive back to Madrid. 

It was a long journey back; longer than on the way out as most of the journey was in the black of the night.  We stopped for dinner at Despeñaperros at a great roadside restaurant and hotel called Alfonso VIII.  We didn't get home until 1 in the morning.  I went straight to bed with little Pippa who had missed us enormously.

It had been a grand weekend and the best wedding ever. Thanks Paula and Pedro and Pili and Andrés for uniting us all in Málaga and for reuniting me with my whole family.  You can see all the photos I took at the weekend in two separate albums: 1) The journey and pre wedding celebrations 2) the wedding day

Monday was a real anti climax after the excitement of the weekend.  It was like coming back to real life after being inside a Hollywood movie or similar.

Oli was the only one going back inside a movie or rather a TV programme. That morning for her new programme, Mi Cámara y Yo, she did a piece on Egyptian mummies and  other necrophiliac things at an anthropological, forensic and criminal science musuem in the medical faculty of the Complutense University. She sent us this rather macrabe photo with a skull or rather skulls. It is run by a prestigious forensic doctor who does it as a hobby.
A photo of Oli filming a rather macabre piece for television on Monday morning

That morning I had a medical appointment with a doctor, thankfully not a forensic one hahahah,  at a clinic in Majadahonda which prescribes the Pronokal diet.  As you know Suzy works at a Pronokal clinic in Harley Street and told me it really worked.  The doctor on Tuesday did too. I was worried about the scales as I hadn't been on any for years - just hate the scales.  But actually the figure was much lower than I thought and I don't have to lose that many kilos.  I would have loved to start the next day but first I had to do a blood test and take the Doctor the results the following Monday.  So I will have to wait another week and whilst I am waiting I am sort of eating whatever I want; you know the pre-diet attitude right? Well, I've got it hahaha.

On Tuesday morning I did the blood test and by Wednesday afternoon the results were available to download online.  Everything looks just fine, except that my cholesterol is 203 which is borderline.  We'll have to fix that. 

Oli meanwhile had finished all the filming for the first report and would be spending the rest of the week at the production company (Torreón) helping editing the programme and preparing for the next one which will be about amazing attic locations in Madrid.  They were also preparing the advertising of the programme's comeback and you can see it here. It will be broadcast on Monday 3rd October at 23h on Telemadrid. If you can't see it, it can be viewed online and I will post the link as soon as it is available. . 
Promotion for the new programme, Mi Cámara y Yo, for which Oli is one of the 2 street reporters.
The big news on Tuesday was that Colombia had signed a peace treaty with the FARC guerrillas after more than 50 years of violence.  

Work went on and I've been quite busy this week.  That day I had a conference call to come up with a new communications plan.

We went out to dinner that night (part of my pre-diet attitude as there will be no more dinners out once I start hahhaha) and I chose a place called Tanteo in Majadahonda which serves great tapas.  For the occasion I was wearing the wonderful black and white espadrilles Paula and Pedro had given out at their wedding.
The espadrilles from Paula and Pedro's wedding.
It's quite the custom in Spain to give comfortable flat shoes out at wedding for women suffering wearing their high heels, like me last Saturday. But these were extra special.  I love them. 

Oli joined us for dinner and came home to sleep too. Her new workplace is as far away from her new flat as from our house and as this week is Miguel's working week with TVE in Valencia, she would come again the next night and the next. It was lovely to have her back and to hear all her news about the new job.

Thus on Wednesday morning I had breakfast with her. Pippa did too, or rather she sat in Oli's arms at the kitchen table.  
Breakfast with Oli and Pippa
We are all newsreaders at breakfast and that morning I read that Shimon Peres, the ex President and PM of Israel and one of the founders of the country, had died aged 93. He was a Nobel Peace prize winner although I am not sure he brought much peace to the region.  Some say there was a lot of blood on his hands.  

I'm sure Oli as a journalist would have loved to cover the story, but she had to get on with editing and promoting the new programme.  Here is a moment when she and the other reporter, Amaya Rey - who joined on Monday - are being filmed for the website promotion.  Both girls are stunning don't you think?
Oli and her colleague, Amaya Rey, the other reporter for the programme, being filmed for the web promotion
On Thursday I had a meeting with my events agency, QuintaEsencia.  They wanted me to see their latest project Q-Shop or rather the showroom which is at their premises on C/Lagasca 33. You can buy their stylish and fun products there or order them online on the link above.  Here is Bea, the mastermind behind the new project owned by the 3 sisters, Cris, Bea and Gloria, showing me Q-Shop.
Bea showing me the showroom of Q-Shop
Funnily enough that day I was wearing white and black and as you can see all the products that Q-Shop sells are black and white. Even the wedding espadrilles are black and white hahahaha.

We had a good meeting after the summer break which continued through lunch at a restaurant nearby called No.  Funnily enough it belonged to Jaime A., who works for a bigger rival events agency and who worked for me when I was both a Motorola and Nokia. It's  a small world. It was nice to be in town again but no way would I ever want to live in the centre of Madrid again.  I am definitely a "country mouse" and so is Eladio. 

Oli came back that evening for a short while only - she would be going out to dinner with her "manada friends" - as she would be sleeping at her flat that night because she had to be up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning.  That day would be very long starting with a morning of photo shoots of her and the other programme reporter.  Then in the afternoon she would be doing more shooting, this time for work on the second report she is now preparing; one on spectacular attics in Madrid.  

I am living her glamorous new TV adventure vicariously. However she doesn't see it that way and complains a lot about the long hours and the stress and that she has no time for her own life; not to mention time for sport and exercise.  There's not much I can answer to that. She is right but at the same time she is in a medium that other journalists would die for. 

On Friday she spent most of the day in a photo shoot together with her new colleague, Amaya.  They are both the lead reporters for Mi Cámara y Yo and will be doing the weekly reports alternately.  You see it takes at least 2 weeks to make just one.  
Olivia during Friday's photo shoot.

Here with her fellow lead reporter during Friday's photo shoot
The photos were for the promotion of the programme and it was lovely to see the latest one on the website with Oli coming out of a tank hahaha.
Oli coming out of a tank, one of the ads to publicise the new programmee hahaha.
Friday was a quiet day for us.  I had work to do; we communicated the comeback of our Sinfín 20 giga promotion for the month of October which I know will please new customers. 

The weather was good again as it has been all week.  It seems as though the summer doesn't want to go.  I even bathed in the pool after our walk yesterday.  I have to admit the water was freezing.

That morning I wore a lovely bangle that my friend Irene had given to me when they visited us in Montrondo.  I love it.  It reminds me of India.
The lovely bangle Irene gave me and which I wore for the first time on Friday
I would wear it again that night when we went out to dinner with our friends, the amicably divorced couple Roberto and Maricarmen.  We went to Ginos and could well have eaten al fresco.  They used to be our closest married couple friends and we went on many trips together.  When they divorced that stopped and I missed them.  Now it looks as though we will enjoy more of their company on our Friday nights out to dinner and hopefully they will visit us in Montrondo soon.  

And today is Saturday and the 10th anniversary of my job with Yoigo.
It's 10 years today at Yoigo.
The photo in the badge was the one taken on my first day with the company.  How time flies!  Where has the time gone?  It has been a great journey and let's see where it takes me now we have new owners.

On a much sadder note today is the 17th annivesary of the passing away of my Mother. 
My amazing Mother in the mid 90's
I wrote this on Facebook just a while ago and copy it here because it sums her up just as she was: 
    Today is 1st October a sad date for us.17 years ago today my extraordinary vivacious bohemian fun loving intellectual Russian born Mother who spoke 6 languages and would talk on equal terms to princes beggars or priests passed away. She left a gaping hole which can never be filled. Love you Mummy and remember you today and always.
We  miss her every day, especially my Father.  When I wrote the word "extraordinary" it was not an exaggeration, she really was. Born Her Serene Highness Elena - pronounced "Yelena" (Helen) Lieven, the 4th of 6 children to a noble Russian exiled family who fled to Bulgaria her whole life was one big adventure.  This is the adventure I shall write about in a book when I retire.  

It's now the weekend and I shall leave off here to enjoy the time with Eladio and Olivia.  We have been invited to lunch today by Gerardo and the rest of my "Spanish family" but of course I shall be telling you all about that in next week's post.

Meanwhile my friends, enjoy your weekend.

Cheers till next time/Masha

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