Hello, January

New Years Eve

Despite my best intentions, the festive red knickers that I’d ear marked for last night’s celebrations never did make it out of the knicker draw. Neither did I get round to making the lentil stew and, worst of all, the lucky twelve grapes assigned to each of us for the chimes at midnight, are still in their bag in the fridge. So much for Mrs Nev’s stab at NYE Spanish style.


On a positive note, I did produce a cracking dinner. Well, part of the dinner at any rate. A crackling dinner. My slow cooked belly pork was a triumph; Wilma and Colin thought it second to none. Alas, the same cannot be said of my Irish Cream Tiramisu. This creamy gorgeous, calorie laden confection was to have been the star of the show, a fitting and sweet finale to 2016 . A treat that Pedro had been looking forward to all day. In my hastiness to rush out and buy a bottle of Baileys, it quite slipped my mind to procure the other two essential ingredients, mascarpone and sponge biscuits. Dessert was therefore a simple liquid affair, served straight from the bottle, sans accoutrements.


Good old Janus. There he stands at the doorway, looking back at the old year, looking forward to the new. A bit like our cats except at least Janus makes up his mind at midnight whereas the cats are still undecided. ‘In? or out?’ I hear myself muttering for the ‘nth time before one goes one way and the other two shoot upstairs, only to change their minds five minutes later.


I went out drawing yesterday. There’s an idea for a picture that I can’t get out of my head so I headed to the church at the bottom of Calle Real to make some preliminary sketches. As I was walking back up the steep hill to our house, I found myself reflecting on this past year. As years go, it’s been one of the best. It’s not been the easiest, nor the most straightforward, but hands down it’s certainly been one of the most interesting.


As many of you know, Pedro and I bit the bullet in February 2015 and bought an ancient derelict house in Alcala La Real. It was in such bad condition that not even the town’s rats or mice wanted to live there. Grotty though it was, I could see that it had great potential for a place to run our business from. Pedro was less sure and didn’t share my enthusiasm. There was plenty of room, good outdoor space and I loved that despite years of neglect, the bare bones of the house hadn’t been ruined. All the original features were there, it just needed a bucket load of money chucked at it, time and, patience. The bucket load of money was the scary, hard part. To bring this old building back to life would cost us every penny of our savings and possibly more. Was it a risk worth taking? Somehow I convinced Pedro it was.


After months of waiting for planning permissions, renovation finally work started at the end of October 2015. Earlier that year I’d received an email from Channel 4 asking us if we’d be interested in being a part of a programme that they were making about Brits moving abroad and starting new businesses. Apparently their researchers had found us through this blog. Pedro wasn’t happy about the idea but I thought it was great. Unfortunately our works project wasn’t going to fit in with the filming for the first series. Would we be interested in being in Series two? ‘Yes, Yes’ I said, ‘No’ groaned Pedro.



After a Skype audition and passing muster with the Casting Director, filming started in April. It was terrifying at first. Having a camera trained on you and no experience of ever being in front of one, I didn’t know what to expect or, what to do. Should I pout or suck my cheeks in? Did I look fat? Was my bra strap showing? Should I play Mrs Sophisticated ( impossible( or, should I try to be cool or even ditzy? My imagination and nerves played havoc. There was no script and no monetary gain, the only incentive was that maybe, just maybe this might put Atelier 88 out there on the map. But as the camera and the weeks rolled by it became easier and soon we had both taken filming and all that went with it, in our stride. After eight months of being followed, the final shoot was done at the end of November when our first paying guests arrived. We’d only finished the final touches on the house a couple of weeks before and so it was a huge relief when everything went without a hitch. Up until then I’d been worrying about whether we’d have enough hot water, whether the boiler and radiators would work and whether the new mattresses really were as comfortable as the lady in the shop had said they were.


We’ve had quite a few guests staying since then and although the laundry side is hard work, it’s a lot of fun meeting new people and seeing this old house come in to its own. I pinch myself that finally after all the ups and downs and months of angst, we’ve finally arrived and are doing what we set out to do. Getting the Art and Printing courses organised is the next thing on the list to tick off but things are looking promising for April.


And speaking of which, the etching press arrived last week. A monster sized crate was delivered from the workshop in Barcelona where the press was made. It was so huge and so heavy that it had to be airlifted over the roof tops by crane. It’s still sitting outside in the yard because we need some serious manpower to manoeuvre it in to its final resting place in the studio. Needless to say neither of us can wait to start printing.


Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Creative 2017. If you want to know more about what we are doing, special offers, art courses and more, please Like and Follow our new Facebook page Atelier88.


We will be posting our #Atelier88 news and updates there and also on Twitter @Atelier88Spain

As soon as the website is live, I shall be posting a link here and on our Facebook page. Things have been held up because both our laptops have had problems and we’ve been computer’less for a while.

The second series of Channel 4’s A New Life In The Sun starts on January 3rd at 3pm – Pedro and I make our entrance on 16th Jan .

Atelier 88 website: www.atelier88galicia.com

47 thoughts on “Hello, January

    1. Thank you, Puff. I’m really really really nervous about the telly. It’s going to be agony to watch ourselves on the screen. I said so many stupid things!! the best part will be having a ‘souvenir’ of the work being done over the months. Unfortunately they missed a lot of the early stuff, the roof off, the building when we first bought it but hopefully there’s enough on film to give some idea. It’s been a HUGE project, scary financially but over all, a lot of fun. Now we look forward to sharing our house with B and B guests and making art in the studio xxx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, Puff, I bet they were not remotely stupid. We are our own worst critics – take it from one who knows. I was appalling on my father’s This is Your Life and they made it worse by editing it so that I didn’t make sense, but others thought not. I guarantee you’ll be much better than you think. Are they sending you a preview copy? I hope so. Hugs & Kisses. xx

        Liked by 3 people

  1. The hard work is done now, well almost, Pedro & yourself deserve a well earned pat on the back. The workmanship of Atelier 88 is second to none, like the belly pork. 👍
    You will have a wonderful season and enjoy your new home.
    All the best xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tom. It was a treat having you and Lorraine to stay. You were great company and wonderful guests. Good luck with your new house and fingers crossed that you will be living here soon! Very exciting! xxx


    1. I would be OVER THE MOON if you came to stay with us. Oh the thrill!! Bet you are getting excited for your Switzerland trip. Have a great time, Martha and keep me posted. I need to finish the drawing xxx


  2. Looking fabulous, Lottie. How exciting! I’m not sure if I’ll be in the UK when the programme shows up, but I should be able to catch up, I’m sure. Very exciting!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lottie, what a wonderful year for you and Pedro and the furry kids. I imagine from your photos that your space is absolutely gorgeous and welcoming. Have fun with your printing press and everything you’ll create with it. I’m curious about the dish with the tomatoes, eggs, onions and olives. What else is in it? Does it have a dressing?

    As for your spot on TV, you’ll both be great. Let your readers who can’t access Channel 4 if video is available on the internet after its initial showing. I’d love to see it! Happy New Year and have a very blessed 2017.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Biker Chick! I promise to post a link for the show here if I can and info about how it can be seen.
      The salad is the Orange and Salt Cod salad that I wrote a post on in the summer. The dressing is just olive oil and black pepper. I made this one for Christmas Eve lunch. My girls love it. Happiest of New Years to you and very best wishes for a great 2017 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ah, that may be because not everyone was fond of the egg, orange, fish combo! Have a look on the blog, i think i called it something like Orange Salad, A culinary ray of sunshine. If you do make it, let me know what you think xx


  4. Fantastic post! What an amazing adventure you & Pete have been having! Your photos are brilliant, as always. I especially love your food shots (those breads look yum!). You really do have an especially bright talent for making diamonds out of coal (though the process of doing so is never easy!).

    Cannot wait for the Nevin’s cinematic debute! Merriest of New Year’s to you and Pete, dear Lottie xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Merrie. Your comments always make me smile. I wish I could make Diamonds out of coal… can you imagine?!! VERY nervous about our cinematic debut, very nervous indeed but we will see. Yikes!! Happy Happy New Year to you and Steve. Much love xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the update. Been waiting for that. Looking great. Loved the thought of the liquid tiramisu (forgetting essential ingredients is one of my tricks – made a Moroccan salad once with no Morocco in it at all…) Shall drop you a line shortly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Richard. Sounds like we’d make a great team in the kitchen! The more essential the ingredient, the more likely I am to forget it … but a Moroccan salad with no Morocco in it? That’s a class act. Well Done!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh, Filmon! what would we do without it?! Thank you dear Ralph for your lovely comment and let me know what you think of the show. First one starts tomorrow afternoon! Happy New Year to you xox

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations are in order!! Well-done, and what a year+ it has been… with all the highs, lows and in-betweens (including the transformed-tiramisu), I’d say you’ve made a success of it. Can’t wait to see the televised version of your morphed casa & atelier88.. that should be fun! (hope it will be online too??) Lots of love and blessings to you & Pete as you carry onward on this amazing adventure in Andalucia xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. aww, thank you, Amit. I think the only way that you’ll be able to see it is if you have a VPN – not sure if it will be on YouTube later. Thanks as always for your supreme vote of confidence in us, it is indeed an amazing Andalucian adventure! wishing you all the very best in 2017 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Lottie, this afternoon I was thinking wistfully how much I missed your blog posts- I so wanted to have a good laugh. And low and behold I went to FB, first, that I don’t usually do and there you were. I truly enjoyed the read and it all looks extremely well done. And the food, oh my goodness. I think your guests are really getting their money’s worth with your home cooking. I am going to make this short for this computer is having its spell of not putting the letters on the screen when I hit the keys. I hope that somehow the TV show can be copied or filmed and put on You Tube. I really want to see the shows. 🙂 The photos are marvelous and you are looking beautiful. Love the tam or what ever it’s called.

    Much love and hugs
    Yvonne xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I SO hope that you will be able to watch it too. You will need a VPN on your computer . We use one called Tunnel Bear. I’ll email you later with more info. Funnily enough, you’ve been in my thoughts a lot today. I know its been a very difficult year for you. Here are a million hugs and lots of love and dear Yvonne, may 2017 be a magnificent year for you xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the meantime I’ll look up VPN and also Tunnel Bear. Seeing you and Pete on TV (if I can get the gizmo) will be a shinning highlight of the year. I’ll be so disappointed it I can’t. Do you have the ability to record on your TV? Lisa, my daughter, used to record to a CD, some shows, for me when I was still working at VA. I think it’s called a DVR but I could be waaaay off on that info. Not to worry about that- surely there has got to be a way to see the shows. I’ll get cracking (that’s the British slang)? but I think Americans use it too, at least I have for some years now. :-). I know you have many things going on right this minute. The printing press is most impressive and IT IS MASSIVE!

        Take care dear lady. Much love to you, Pete, the cats, Colin and, Wilma.

        I am still working, a bit at a time, on the letter to you. I might just hand write it and send it your way. I’m curious to know how long it takes to go from Texas to Jaen Spain. xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’d love you to see the show, and I’m going to see what Channel 4 can do to rectify the situation. I’m sure they will help out if they can. The VPN is a natty download that stops ‘foreign’ channels from knowing where you are viewing from. So for example Pedro and I can watch UK television programmes and shows so long as we have a VPN on the laptop. We don’t have a television, we watch everything on the laptop and often I watch stuff on my phone which is so tiny that I have a frown mark now and squint!! we don’ t have a dvd player either so we can’t even watch the dvds that they are sending to us of our episodes. Let me see what I can do and I shall report back to you. And, I’d love nothing more than a hand written letter from you – that would be the shining highlight of my year. Take care, Yvonne and lots of love from us all here xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I looked up VPN and will take my computer to a tech. Since my computer had the nerve to update to a W10 (yes, Microsoft has it programmed to do that for all W8 and W8.1 computers). Mine is HP W8.1. So anyhow, I saw that VPN is compatible with W10 but I will take this damn computer to a REAL TECH to make sure that it is done properly. I have to this post haste so I don’t miss your show. But anything else you learn about the el-problemo please let me know. You need not reply to this Lottie, you have your hands full of minute details and large problems to solve and work that needs to be done. XXXX Yvonne


      4. Yvonne, I’m never to busy to reply to you. I’ve just sent the producer of the show an email and asked him for his help and advice on how you can watch it. I’ll let you know as soon as i hear from him. I’m hoping that he can help us out here. Night night from Spain and speak soon xox

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Lottie you are the best. Only you would go to the trouble to try to get an answer for folks in the US to watch the show. Thank you so very much. But I do kniw that you have been busy as a bee and I have no idea how you’ve had the energy to keep the house going with the B&B plus cooking and doig laundfry. You are a dynamo just try not to make yourself ill. It’s now 10:02pm CST in central Texas and I’m a bit sleepy. So it’s bedtime for me too. XXXX


  8. Oh, crikey, there you are again, Other Yvonne! I was so excited to see what Lottie looks like without her out-of-this-world welding helmet on!

    Your place looks like a genuine credit to all the hard work, sweat and buckets of money. Good for you folks for achieving this. May 2017 be busy and happy for you. Mwah from Australia.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Thanks Lottie. I’d been unable to find out the first transmission date and, luckily, have just read this so have set it up to record. xx

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It starts tomorrow at 3pm on Channel 4 then I think that there is a break of a week while something else is on and then we appear the week beginning 16th January. will keep you posted if i hear anything different xxx


  10. Wow! Well done Lottie, you are a very impressive woman who achieves what you set out to do. Your Atelier looks wonderful and I would love to come and stay sometime. We have now left Greece and we’re in Wales of all places! We may live abroad again in the future, but for now we’re giving it a go here. Best of luck with your art courses, and Happy New Year to you all.

    Love, Lynn Tremarco xxx

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, how lovely, Wales is a beautiful place to make your new home. I’m glad you’ve finally been able to make your move. Thanks for your kind words, it’s been quite a year and a lot of hard work but definitely worth it and we are thrilled with the result. Bit terrifying having drained the bank account but I’m optimistic that we can make this work and we’ve already had a good start so I’m feeling encouraged. Looking forward to the art courses starting and getting on with work in the new studio. Hopefully the website will be up soon. Hadn’t realised what a headache they are to put together!! Happy New Year to you! xxx


  11. Hoorah for Atelier 88 and its entrepreneurs! And double hurrah for that lovely and nifty shot of the lady of the studio. Very nice in that canted beret, Lottie. 🙂
    I can’t imagine growing comfortable with a camera (yes, a camera) following me around.Much easier to be behind it, I think.
    Now, if only I were a traveler I’d have Spain on my to visit list…well, it can be on it even if I don’t travel. 😉


  12. Have watched with interest the ups and downs, trials and tribulations and maaaaaany nail biting moments you have had transforming your new home in Spain

    I’ve just finished an 18 month refurb myself turning my ugly duckling’y beast of a house by the sea, into a beeeeautiful swan and I know what a headache it can be … even worse for you with the film crew!!, language barrier, etc etc. WELL DONE for coming out the other side with a biiiiiig 🙂 on your face, I know it’s not easy!!!

    I wish you both every success with your new venture (it looks muuuuuy bien, full of quirkeee character), I’m sure after your C4 debut this week, business will be booming and your reservation book will be buuuulging at the seams

    All the very best and a biiiiig pat to your lovelee little dog!

    Niki x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Niki, what a LOVELY comment, thank you! It was quite nerve wracking seeing ourselves on the telly but really great to see how far we’ve come with the house. Filming didn’t start until 6 months after work had started so you can imagine the state it was in when we first bought it. Hor-ren-dous! I shall give Wilma a cuddle from you and thanks again for your kind words x


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