Beaches to rave about, tapas as they should be, traditional ‘white villages’, skiing not too far away and Morocco close by – the southern tip of Spain is not only a great place to holiday, it offers families a variety of experiences that are in driving distance for a family day out – dog and all. Barefoot Books ambassador Sandra Cameron moved to the Costa Del Sol from Britain three years ago and still looks forward to a good old Sunday road trip…
What do you do?
Primarily and most importantly, I’m a full-time mother to my children Ross, eight, and Freya, seven. I’m also an ambassador for Barefoot Books, a wonderful publishing company that produces children’s books, with stories from around the world. They gather stories from many countries, making the books of interest to our multicultural society and giving children a chance to understand different cultures and countries. The books are stunningly illustrated, which entice and inspire children from the start. I firmly believe that if you can read with your children from the start, with great books, you will create a love of reading and in turn a love of learning. I work closely with pre-schools, children’s play groups and individuals to distribute the books and promote my marketplace online throughout Spain, the UK, Europe and the Isle of Man.
What’s your neighbourhood like?
We are currently based on the southern tip of Spain, close to the Gibraltar border. The mass building boom in Spain over recent years has left most of this area looking overcrowded with property, most of which, sadly remains unfinished, as the recession hit. However, our community is a little oasis – very green, surrounded by internationally famous golf courses, near to the sea and traditional Spanish white villages close by. There are many nationalities within our area, so it has a very multicultural feel about the place and a good international school is based here. The glorious weather is much appreciated by residents, so life is very much spent and enjoyed outdoors. Most houses have private pools, for summer cooling off, so the children are happy too!
Where do you and your family go on a normal day out?
Most weekends, whilst the weather is not too hot, we take a family ‘road trip’ day out. We love planning our next adventure to either city, town, beach or attraction. Because my children are active in dance and drama, most Saturdays they attend classes, so Sunday tends to be our ‘away day’. The local Spanish residents sleep late, so we depart early with our car packed with picnic, music, kids and dog.
We’ve had many adventures and days of fun and have visited the cities of Seville, Granada, Malaga, Jerez and my all-time favourite, Ronda. These cities are easily reached for day trips, with the furthest, Granada, just over 2.5 hours. We’ve even had a day skiing at Sierra Nevada, which was fantastic. However, when the weather is at its best (around 18-22°C) we all love a day to Tarifa to enjoy the fantastic beaches, blue sea and great tapas. We call it our ‘paradise’ beach and the Moroccan mountains are visible as it’s only a 35-minute ferry ride away on the high-speed ferry from Tarifa to Tangier. Morocco is up high on our ‘next trip’ list.
Social media, do you like or dislike?
LIKE, of course! Social media (and online shopping) just makes life more interesting and easy (in that order)! The ability to communicate, learn and interact with people from around the world is tremendous. To be given the opportunity to find information at the touch of a screen, is truly a miracle that has changed my life and how I live it. Also, to be able to buy unique items from any corner of the world offers the best shopping experience for me.
Tell us about a life-changing event for you…
I suppose like everyone, life changes, in some way, with every event! One of life’s biggest changes, I think, is when you stand alone, truly as an adult, without the ability to lean on your parents. The passing away of my mother in 1999 threw me immediately into ‘true adulthood’. As my father died when I was just seven years old, so my mum and I had a very close bond. Her loss has made me much stronger emotionally and I have had to be a mother to my children, from the start, without any parental advice or support. This has given me the ability to be at ease with myself and confident with most of my decisions in life, and I hope I am doing a good job. However I do feel that my mother still influences me in many ways, thank goodness.
What’s the biggest news story in Spain at the moment?
Like most countries, at the moment the recession is always in the news. However, recently, economic forecasts for Spain are very bleak. As the world’s 12th biggest economy, there is a lot of pressure on Spain to keep its head above water. If you follow this news story too closely, the world looks like a very bleak place, but I believe that, given time, it will sort itself out and for now we should be happy with what we have.
What makes Spain feel like home?
I will never become fluent enough in Spanish to be mistaken as a local, but home is where the heart is – and my heart is where my family is and beside the sea. So I am at ‘home’ with my family in Spain.