Amor Castizo: 8 date ideas in Madrid – budget version

Following on from the previous post about Unique and Clandestine date ideas in Madrid, I have created a version for those on a shoestring budget but still want to impress your date and create an unforgettable experience. Here are my favourite free or almost-free date ideas in the city: Picnic and sunset at Parque de …

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11 Unique and clandestine venues for an unforgettable date in Madrid

So you have a date and you want to impress. Where should you go to make sure that your night is unforgettable? I am here to help and these are my memorable Madrid hotspots. Warning: none of these places are incredibly cheap, they are more bordering on the pricey side. I have thrown in a few …

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The types of students you’ll encounter as an English teacher for adults and how to deal with them

There are many types of students that you will encounter in your foray into the world of teaching business English. There are two main rules here - 1. You are the boss of your classroom and 2. Stay calm before you address the student! Here are some of the most common students that you will …

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8 Surprising Spanish Inventions that Shaped Our World

Spain is the home of many inventions, some that you may use day to day but had no idea were invented here in Spain. Today we will learn how Spanish ingenuity has shaped the world! 1. The MopThe most commonly used household item was invented in Spain by a man, a member of the Spanish …

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Ninis: Living with their parents until their 40s

So what is a Nini? In Spanish it is short for "Ni trabajo ni estudios" or "no work nor studies" and is a word to describe the generation of young people in Spain living at home with their parents until their 30s or 40s, a generation without higher studies and without incentive to work. Today …

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Balconing: The deadly summer trend spurred by Social Media

If you have been in Spain for a while you may have noticed the mention of the phenomenon of "balconing" which happens every summer in coastal regions such as Ibiza, Mallorca and the Costa del Sol. Balconing seems to be a phenomena occuring most commonly among young British males who feel compelled to launch themselves …

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Tips to deal with Teacher Burnout

So it's summer and most of us teachers can breathe a sigh of relief. Phew! Another term over! Teaching can be an exhausting profession which is emotionally, physically and mentally consuming. You may be wrestling with the guilt of tipping the work-life balance in favour of work and not dedicating enough time and energy to …

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Opus Dei: The Power and Money that runs Spain

If you've lived here a while you may be familiar with the Opus Dei, or maybe heard something in passing about this organisation. What is little discussed is that this religious organisation is often the power and the money behind government, administration, education and hospitals. You may have heard of Opus Dei in the film …

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Must-know Everyday Spanish Idioms

Here are the essential Spanish Idioms that you will hear on a day-to-day basis and will get you one step closer to sounding like a native speaker. 1. Dar a luz - literally translates as "to give light" meaning to bring new life into the world by giving birth. This idiom is one of the …

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The Curse of Mad Cool Festival

This year I attended the much hyped about Mad Cool Festival, with what was slated as one of the best line-ups in Europe this summer, I knew that I had to attend or miss out on epic concerts such as Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails amongst others. Mad Cool was organised by Javier …

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Spain and the Ascent of the Right Wing

With the election of Pablo Casado to be the face of the Popular Party after Rajoy's ousting earlier this year in a vote of no confidence, the uprising of the Right Wing seems to be on a steady ascent into the public eye. Who is Pablo Casado?Pablo Casado secured 57.2 percent of votes at the congress …

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Why move to Spain? The 9 best things about living in Spain

If you're thinking of moving to Spain and have read articles about the work culture or unemployment rates, perhaps you are concerned about trying to build a new life here. Though its true that there are issues regarding the economy and politics, what country doesn't have issues? Here is an article to give you all …

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Work Culture in Spain: the truth about working in Spain

Having worked for over five years in Spain, working both as a teacher (contract and autonomo) and also as a PA in two Spanish companies, I have had time to reflect on the question: Is Spain a good place to work? Spain is a wonderful country to live in and for many it is a …

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The Rollercoaster Effect: The phases of moving to a new country

If any of you have read the charming James Rhodes waxing lyrical in the Spanish press about all the things he loves about his new home country, Madrid, you will clearly recognise the honeymoon stage. In fact moving to and living in another country is a series of dizzying stages, from elation to frustration to …

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The Myth of the Mediterranean Diet in Spain

How many times have you heard from a Spaniard that "Our diet is the healthiest. It's the Mediterranean Diet" while citing the health benefits of Jamon and Spanish dishes. When asked about their diet, 7 out of 10 respondents would say they were eating healthily, despite the statistics showing otherwise. (Nestle https://empresa.nestle.es/es/sala-de-prensa/comunicados-de-prensa/ii-observatorio-nestle) Today we shall look …

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Spain in the Movies: Must Visit Film locations around Spain

Following my last post, "Madrid in the Movies",  I will expand and tell you about the unlikely and curious locations around Spain. A must-visit for all film buffs! I have also included Game of Thrones because with its popularity it's always worth a mention! Game of Thrones For die-hard Game of Thrones fans, San Juan de …

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Pickpocketed in Madrid? A guide on what to do next.

This is the most common experience of any expat in Madrid. It has happened to me three times. Obviously prevention is better than cure but I think it's one of those baptisms by fire or initiation into life in Madrid. Remember, Madrid is home to numerous pickpockets operating in the central areas like Sol, Gran …

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Spanish Rice – paella variation

So today I have our recipe for Spanish rice with seafood. I won't call it paella as Jamie Oliver received death threats from defiant Spaniards for adding chorizo to his recipe. So I will say that the preparation is similar to a paella but the addition of artichokes is NOT traditional. In my humble opinion …

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Around Spain in 20 Specialities

Today we are taking a gastronomic journey through Spain in 20 mouthwatering specialities. For those who want to experience the best that Spain has to offer, here are the 20 most famous dishes and foods from different autonomous regions. This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are so many amazing foods to try …

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Speak like a Madrileñ@

So you've been in Madrid a while and you might have noticed that people use some very colourful slang and colloquial expressions. Here are the most common that you might have heard: 1. Me importa un pimiento: Following Antonio Banderas' charming video explaining typical Spanish slang, this was one of the examples he explained. A "pimiento" in …

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Want to be an English teacher in Madrid? Here are 8 important lessons I learnt …

Having worked as an English teacher for five years here in Madrid, I know how hard and exhausting this job can be. Here are some lessons that I learnt over the years that will be helpful if you're just starting out. 1. Don't stress about not having enough classes! There are so many job opportunities …

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Where to buy furniture and other home furnishings in Madrid

You've found your perfect flat, now you need to buy things to make it more homely. Where do you start? Well luckily I can give you some tips to furnish your home cheaply. No need to sacrifice style for a budget... Facebook forums  The first and best place to look are Facebook forums. Every year …

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Madrid’s Urban Legends – Part 1

Every city has it's dark side and Madrid is no exception. Here are some of the urban legends and curiosities that you may not know about... The carcass in Casa de Campo March 30th, 2016. A man walking his dog stumbles upon a half-buried rotted corpse of a mysterious creature, entangled in chicken wire. Calling …

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Madrid in the Movies

Madrid is the setting for many films, not only in the films of Almodovar but also in International and Hollywood films. Here are some of the places you might recognise from the movies. The most famous of Spanish directors internationally is Pedro Almodovar, one of the figureheads of the Movida Madrilena (read more in my …

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Madrid Day Trips: Segovia in a day

 Segovia is a must-visit when you start living in Madrid. Home to a castle that provided inspiration for the Disney Cinderella castle and the mouthwatering roast suckling piglet (cochinillo) as well as a stunning Roman aqueduct. How to get there:By bus: From Intercambiador Moncloa (at metro Moncloa) there is a bus called "La Sepulvedana" that takes …

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Hidden gem: La Tabacalera

La Tabacalera is one of my favourite places in Madrid to wander around in the weekends. Situated on Calle de Embajadores 53, La Fabrica de Tabaco de Embajadores was abandoned in 2000 and is currently managed by the Ministry of Culture. The building was completed in 1790 and has been the workplace of hundreds of …

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10 Dos and 10 Don’ts in Spain

Spain is a relaxed and diverse country and in general, there are very few etiquette rules to follow but here are the most popular ones to remember: Do Travel the country to small towns and go up to the North of Spain - Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid are amazing cities but there are fantastic places …

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The Movida Madrileña

What is the Movida Madrileña? When you move to Madrid you will hear Madrileños nostalgically talking about the Movida Madrileña as an epic period of the history of this city. This artistic phenomenon was born from the emergence of Spain from Franco's dictatorship. While the rest of the world had the wild and psychedelic 60's …

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Semana Santa: what’s it all about?

Semana Santa or Holy Week is fast approaching. Dancing skeletons, pointy hoods and all the crying... what is it all about? Semana Santa is celebrated all over Spain and is considered one of the most religious holidays, the original celebrations began in the 16th century with the intention of presenting the story of the Passion of …

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Kid Friendly Restaurants in Madrid

So now that most of my friends have children, I stumbled upon the dilemma of where to go in Madrid for lunches which are child-friendly? Well, you might say that most places are child-friendly already as Madrileños bring their children everywhere, to restaurants, bars until the wee hours. But there are places that you can …

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What I wish I knew before I moved to Spain

I decided to collaborate with expats living here and find out the things that they wish they knew before they moved to Spain. Here are some of the things they said: One of the things mentioned was the need to have a good grasp of Spanish "I wished I would have known more Spanish before …

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Things I wish I knew before I moved to Spain

I decided to collaborate with expats living here and find out the things that hey wish they knew before they moved to Spain. In my case One of the things mentioned was the need to have a good grasp of Spanish "I wished I would have known more Spanish before I moved to Madrid. In …

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The Airbnb Effect

Why are Madrid's apartment rental prices skyrocketing? Some people attribute this change to the "Airbnb Effect". This is when there is a density of tourist holiday rentals it drives up the cost of long-term rentals when landlords prefer to let their property for short-term rentals and earn more money. Everywhere around the world people are …

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Where to live? A mini-guide to the neighbourhoods of Madrid (Part 2)

So to follow on from my last post, let's look at some new areas that are not usually on the radar. MONCLOA / ARGUELLES This is a great area to live as it has shopping centres, is a short walk from Plaza de España and is very central. Problem is it is full of either …

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Why do Spanish people eat so late?i

For my next blog post I'm taking a break from barrios to talk about culture and my favourite topic: FOOD! So you've moved to Madrid and you've discovered that Spanish people operate on a completely different timetable regarding meals. Typically, Spanish people have a coffee in the morning around 8am and then go to work, …

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Where to live? A mini-guide to the neighbourhoods of Madrid (part 1)

Welcome back to my second post! So! Where to live in the city of Madrid? This depends on various factors such as price, convenience of transportation and how close it is to your work. Madrid overall is a very safe city and there is little risk in walking alone at night after a night out, …

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Apartment Hunting Tips

Let me guess... you've decided to make the move to Madrid and you've begun negotiating the stressful experience of house hunting in Madrid. The Madrid housing market has become highly competitive and much more expensive than just a mere two years ago... with a shortage of accommodation exacerbated by the number of Airbnbs popping up …

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