THE BLOG

'Moving to Spain with Children' by Lisa Sadleir, a Review

24/04/2015 15:59 BST | Updated 23/06/2015 10:59 BST

2015-04-23-1429801940-4745620-MovingtoSpainwithChildren.jpg Photograph by Family Life in Spain

Let's clear something up. Lisa Sadleir is no Chris Stewart. Meaning that Moving to Spain with Children is no Driving Over Lemons.

That's meant as observation rather than criticism. Whilst Sadleir's unlikely to be nominated for any literary prizes, it's not as if she's aiming for such recognition. This is no wryly-observed expat memoir; more a practical handbook for those families about to take the plunge and move to Spain, kids and all.

Not that Moving to Spain with Children isn't without its funny sections. Like the time Lisa, aka Family Life in Spain's mum, recalls when her husband unwittingly became an illegal alien in Spain. She can laugh about it now, but living this moment was altogether more funny peculiar than funny ha-ha.

The book begins with a daunting contents section. Perhaps this is meant as a metaphor. As Sadleir advises any family planning on relocating to Spain to research, research, and then go and research some more.

2015-04-23-1429798073-3620618-LisaSadleirandfamily.jpg Photograph by Family Life in Spain

Historically, new emigrants to Spain would be youngsters looking for a fresh start in life on the work front or retired folks after a comfortable end. However, the country's deteriorating economic situation has changed all that. Nowadays, Spain's expats are largely drawn from financially-independent families looking for a better quality of life.

It's these families who Sadleir is pitching the book to. And she's a veritable knowledge fountain, explaining how you need to apply for school places by March, wait until June to hear if you've been accepted, and then, if so, your kids will begin the new term in September. A top tip she recommends is to enrol your kids on the summer schools run by the establishment your kids will be going to, so that they meet some of their future classmates before the start of the new academic year.

2015-04-23-1429799000-255378-MrsFamilyLifeinSpainandkids.jpg Photograph by Family Life in Spain

Other sections cover Spain's notoriously stifling red tape or burrocracia as coined by the Moving to Spain with Children author. See what she did there? Bureaucracy that moves as slow as donkey.

Sadleir points out that she's surprised when people tell her they plan to move at Christmas. She can't think of a worse time. For a start, it's a time for families, so unless you bring nan, gran, aunties, and uncles with you, it's going to feel pretty lonely.

2015-04-23-1429799599-8790878-FamilyLifeinSpainfamilyonholiday.jpg Photograph by Family Life in Spain

The other downside to a festive-period relocation is the weather. Sadleir lives in southern Spain, in Andalucia's Mijas Pueblo. Not every day's a sunny one here, especially from December through to March.

The author lets slip that Green Spain doesn't only exist in the north of the country. She reveals the wettest part of the country is Grazalema which belongs to Cádiz province. And before settling in Andalucia, Sadleir and family were living in Fuerteventura.

When people think of this Canary Island, they imagine a strong sun. What they don't picture is an equally powerful wind which keeps temperatures down. So one of the reasons for the Sadleir family moving to (mainland) Spain was to take advantage of a drier heat.

Living on Gran Canaria, I can only concur. The weather's going to be better than where you're come from, inevitably. However, I couldn't believe some friends when I told them I'd probably eventually return to the UK.

But wouldn't I miss this weather, they enquired. I looked up at another cloudy Las Palmas de Gran Canaria day and wondered what they were going on about. None of us had seen the sun in three months as we were experiencing the capital's notoriously gloomy summer.

What I appreciated about Sadleir's book is that the author's a fellow myth buster. She tells Spain like it is; or as how she sees it. And Sadleir lets you know that your place in the sun is bound to be subject to dark as well as light.

For the purposes of writing this review for The Huffington Post, I received a free copy of Moving to Spain with Children.