Category Archives: Days out…amazing adventures

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The Processions- My grandmother celebrates her religion, I celebrate her. We both celebrate our culture 

I wanted to share something that has touched me during the Easter holidays!

After years of choosing to travel elsewhere for Easter, this year we have decided to go back home, and I had truly forgotten how amazing Easter in Spain can be!! I was talking to some English friends recently who were saying they were quite squeamish about blood, scary images and bodies. However I guess in Spain we grow up being used to looking at quite explicit images and statues of Christ on and off the cross, full of blood and in agony. The Virgins are often also visibly broken hearted and pleading. It is all quite dramatic. And in Easter these statues come out for a walk in processions of men and women who cover their faces with cones on their heads- los capuchinos. The cones are there to help them be closer to heaven but they do look kind of eery when you first see them.

 

      

This is the first year our children have seen the Easter processions and can talk about them. They were completely amazed. They got confused about there being more than one Christ and more than one Mary and they kept there mouths open in complete surprise at the rows and rows of different coloured capuchinos depending on what church they belong to.
Thankfully aside from one or two people walking without shoes despite the cold one thing has changed since I was little: I do remember the penitents walking at the end of the row wearing chains, kneeling all the way around town so their knees bled or whipping their backs as they walked to repent for their sins. I think this is still common in some places in Spain but I am glad for my children’s sake that in Galicia there is no need for drastic measures any more.
I loved watching the processions, the whole town is out and peacefully either taking part and walking to the beat or watching at the sides. Some figures are dramatic some of them are beautiful; flowers, lights and silence.
But amongst all, what my family loved seeing most is that my gorgeous, glamurous and amazing grandmother who is 84 was at the lead of the group of women who accompanied the Virgin of Dolores around our town. She looked stunning and this year I got to see how all the women get ready, the dedication they have to their church and to tradition and religion.
How proud they are of themselves and their town, and how much it means to them to be out and celebrating their Virgin.
My grandmother has worked to create first a school, then an independent living centre and now a third age residence for people with cognitive disabilities. Her life has been truly out of a film and she has created a beautiful space for people who at the time would have been hidden from society and fought stereotypes to make sure they were included.
And now at 84 she will walk a 1000 miles and she would walk 1000 more just to be the one who walks 1000 miles to celebrate her town, her virgin and her beliefs. Ole!
abuelaconvela
 abuelaprofesion
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Conscious parenting

There is so much about meditation and mindfulness written everywhere at the moment but what is it all about and are we becoming more aware?

Over the years I have tried all sorts to quieten my mind and learn about myself. When I was younger for a while it was music and pints that really helped and even now a glass of wine with friends or a good film will quieten my constant chatter!
However since wine in the long run doesn’t work that way I have also tried different yoga classes, pilates, swimming, exercise in general is great for me but I have discovered I can even do that in a mindful way or finish 30 lengths and realise I wasn’t really ‘present’ while I was doing them.
As well as exercise I have tried meditation classes. Some I really enjoyed and some I didn’t get at all. But I do know I cannot sit for an hour a day flying of to a land of stillness. It just doesn’t work for me and I don’t understand how it helps me.
So one conclusion I have come to is that as most things in life you learn best when you find the right teacher for you. In my case what works in Tracey Ash-Ingley’s approach to meditation.
It is about connecting with yourself and something bigger than that. About being aware and in the moment. About listening to my body and attaching new and more positive tags to what I am feeling. Connecting with an image of my amazing self that I can bring into here and now so I can work towards becoming that.
It is simple, quick, clean and VERY VERY light and I can use what I learn immediately in my daily life in London, it fits in with the schedule and makes the schedule run better.
I have so much to learn and I can’t wait to keep learning but I notice daily changes in me; in how I deal with what happens around me, and more importantly how I deal with myself and my family.
I am not sure how much children have access to this kind of learning in school and the activities they do. I am not sure how much of it I bring into our daily life. I make sure they have lots of time to use their imaginations and allowing them as much free play as possible I think is like allowing them to breathe air, just a necessity.
But I haven’t sat down with them to help them become more conscious, to be aware of themselves. To recognise when they need to take time out before it is too late and to know how to helps themselves do that.
Luckily Tracey is willing to get us started by running a couple of workshops at the Violet Hill Studios on the 7th of March and the 18th of April. One session, lots of tips, a month to try them in and then the second session to bring it all together and get more tips.
I will accompany these workshop doing some work at the end around children feeling their own bodies, where they start and stop and thinking about positive touch as a way to connect with people and themselves.
I can’t wait to see how these workshops go and the learning for my children. I hope it will start us off on a new path for how they relate to themselves and how we all relate to each other.
When: 7th March and 18th April 4.30pm to 5.30 pm
Where: Violet Hill Studios, 6 Violet Hill, London NW8 9EB
Price: £10 per person per worksop
Who: info@traceyash.com or Lola 07734900221
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Carnaval carnaval…carnaval te quiero!!!

04The most famous Carnaval in the world takes place in Brazil there is no doubt about that. Here in the UK we have the Notting Hill Carnaval which is the largest street festival in Europe every August Bank Holiday!

But if you ask me what Carnaval means for me?… it would a very different story…

carnaval1Carnaval in Spain is different… it is a crazy street festival full of colour and costumes…where we are allowed to dress up with the most crazy and peculiar costumes we can think of! For me it is the festival of fun and joy. It is always full of humour..which is celebrated across the whole country. When my grandmother was 80 she squeezed herself into a baby pram for the day to be part of a group who dressed up as the royal family!

The celebrations and customs vary depending of the region of Spain and it is different in each city and village, among others the most famous are:

carnaval tenerife

The Carnaval of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, where they celebrate for several days and nights with music in the streets, queens of the Carnaval, dances and colourful parades. They are also famous for their “concursos de murgas“, a group of people that write and sing songs together, they write lyrics which reflect the social and political situation of Spanish society with a sense of humour.

http://carnavaldetenerife.com

http://www.lpacarnaval.com/home?locale=es

CARV_CARTELES_2015_EGR-DIARIOBC (1)_800x600rThe Carnaval of Cadiz, officially a two week festival but it can last up to a month for some of the locals, it is also very popular and a must. They are very popular for their “chirigotas“, a group of costumed performers that parade the streets of cadiz singing satirical songs and bringing joy and laughs to everyone who happens to be on their path.

http://www.carnavaldecadiz.com

Other Carnavals of interest…