Cortijo in remote Granada, Andalucia, Spain

Escaping the Rat Race – A New Chapter

We have been in our new house-sit for just over a week.  We moved away from the the beautiful beaches of Andalusia, the hustle and bustle of the touristic Costa del Sol and travelled up to a remote part of the mountainous province of Granada.  Our Casita is a two bedroomed house adjacent to a Cortijo, engulfed and totally surrounded by olive groves.  Thousands and thousands of olive trees, as far as the eye can see.  It is so incredibly beautiful and so unbelievably peaceful.


The local village is only 2km away and very ‘Spanish’, by this I mean it is pretty much unspoilt by tourism, no English menus and very few English speakers, apart from a lovely man at the cafe who was quoting Sting lyrics to the boys whilst offering them his Jamon tapas!  There are a couple of local cafes, which also double as bars and are the centre of the village, acting as meeting places and manic domino playing arenas; definitely a ‘men only’ sport here.  It’s a wonderful place to be to learn the language and try and immerse ourselves in Spanish culture.  Everyone we meet and try to communicate with, in our very limited Spanish, are so incredibly helpful and kind.  When we asked the local cafe owner where we could buy free-range eggs she promptly gave us half a dozen…wow, so generous!

When we escaped the rat race looking for a simpler life, we could not have envisaged a home so beautiful, a land so respected and a people so kind and welcoming.
Chaos and Mayhem have been loving exploring the house and the local area.  We have been on several treasure hunts and nature walks; started to work the land and plant our own veggie patch and are simply enjoying being outside.  It’s amazing how adaptable the boys are, they left Portugal behind in July and have now left the Costa behind without taking a breath; As long as they have their Mummy and Daddy they feel at home wherever we travel.  For me, that is one of the best reasons to travel whilst the boys are young, they just soak up the places, people and experiences without fear or apprehension and actively seek out new adventures.
To think how different things could have be.  We watched a film last night, ‘Miracles From Heaven’, a bit of a weepy based on a true story.  The first part of the film was the family fighting to find out what was wrong with their daughter.  They had multiple hospital visits, including A&E admissions but were fobbed off with different reasons for their daughter’s illness.  It was so emotional for Hubbie and I to watch as it reminded us so much of our own story, we too were told by many medical professionals that Mayhem wasn’t seriously ill, that he was lactose intolerant and had acid reflux, the same excuses given to Jennifer Garner’s daughter in the film.  We were also given another multitude of reasons, including croup, bronchiolitis before we said NO, it’s not that, he’s seriously ill and you need to find out why, just as Jennifer Garner did.  The film went down a religious path and our stories no longer seemed as similar but watching the film made us realise just how incredibly lucky we are.
Admittedly, we are very unlucky to have had a seriously ill baby, so very unlucky that our precious boy had a tumour that was slowly but surely consuming him, but we are so very, very lucky in other respects; the tumour was benign (whoop, whoop), operable (they discovered this after the operation to remove it, YES!) and once it was surgically removed he was and is cured.  We were able to be together as a family in hospital whilst all of the drama unfolded and feel thankful that Mayhem was only 10 months old when this happened; for him it was normal not to be able to breathe properly, to be in discomfort and to be in the company of numerous doctors and health professionals.
We are so very lucky and incredibly thankful it wasn’t a terminal diagnosis or a painful ongoing condition that required multiple treatments.  We have to have very regular blood tests and x-rays (to make sure the tumour doesn’t grow back), which is hard enough.  We had an x-ray completed yesterday and Mayhem was so very upset being back in a hospital and throughout the procedure, it was a wake-up call for what could have been.  Most importantly though, every single day, every hour of every day, we are so incredibly thankful, grateful and feel lucky enough to have our son here, lucky that he came through this whole crazy episode and that he is here with us.
So when we see the boys exploring, digging in the ground, helping to prepare the soil for planting vegetables, playing games together, annoying each other (yes, even when they are fighting), We are so very, very thankful that we are all here together.  They are our reason, our reason for leaving our busy, time-consuming jobs and lives behind us, our reason for seeking out a life with unrestricted family time together, our reason for striving to live a simpler life, together.
Escaping the Rat Race.png

Post Author: Topsy Turvy Tribe

85 thoughts on “Escaping the Rat Race – A New Chapter


    (October 1, 2016 - 7:09 am)

    Wow! What an exciting time for you all. Lovely that they feel so happy wherever you are. What an adventure!!


    (October 1, 2016 - 7:09 am)

    Oooops #fortheloveofblog


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:39 pm)

      Thank you for your comment, we really are happy and content, such a great feeling!


    (October 1, 2016 - 7:30 am)

    Gosh this is my first time reading your blog – what a time your family has been through and what adventure you are experiencing now. Such precious memories to be making. I wish you all the best in your travels ! #fortheloveofblog


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:41 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. After such a terrible time we are really loving making some well deserved good memories 🙂

    Anne Curtis

    (October 1, 2016 - 9:19 am)

    I didn’t fully understand what you as a family have been through, but I can tell it has bought you so close together. I too am entering a new chapter to my life, I won’t bore you with it, sure Tony can fill you in if you want to know. I just hope we can be as strong and positive as you have been. Continue to enjoy your new life, it’s the best education you can give your lovely boys. Sending love and hugs your way.


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:45 pm)

      Thank you Anne, it was an awful time but the only way to get through it was to be as positive as possible and hope for the best possible outcome. We hope that everything goes well with you, our thoughts and love will be with you as you face and hopefully very soon conquer your own challenge. We are always pleased to read your lovely comments!


    (October 1, 2016 - 1:24 pm)

    It looks beautiful there. What a great experience for you all, what lucky boys you have x


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:46 pm)

      Thank you for stopping by to comment Ali, we really are having the best possible experience and loving being with our boys!


    (October 1, 2016 - 9:44 pm)

    I am so jealous of you right now and how lovely to be in a rustic, untouched part of Spain. I hate it when it’s just full of English stuff to accommodate tourists. It’s just not right. Your pics look beautiful! Good news for your little one. I am so happy to hear that he looks well. I have had my baby in a hospital too and it’s terrific but you made it! Hurrah and well done. It’s never easy./ Enjoy now! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:48 pm)

      Thank you for your comment, I have read how well your little one is doing as he is recovering from his surgery, hopefully he too will go from strength to strength too! We much prefer this part of Spain to the ‘touristic, English costa’ the boys really are having the best time!

    Alex Muir

    (October 1, 2016 - 10:00 pm)

    I really do enjoy reading your blog, especially because you’ve lived in areas that I know pretty well and have met folk like yourselves who just wanted ‘out’. My brother and his wife are embarking on a similar journey next year. How long are you in this area for? #kcacols

    Alex Muir

    (October 1, 2016 - 10:02 pm)

    ps. I subscribed to your blog a while ago but I never get emails when a new post comes out!? I just tried re-subscribing and it tells me I cant because I already am!? Very strange.


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:57 pm)

      Thanks for your comment Alex. I’ve just checked the email subscription and you are on the list as from the 2 Oct, so hopefully you should receive updates from now on! We are here for quite a while yet, all being well, until at least next July. Sounds like your brother and wife are off on an adventure too, hope it works out for them as well as it has for us!

        Alex Muir

        (October 2, 2016 - 7:32 pm)

        Looking forward to more posts from you then.


    (October 2, 2016 - 12:03 am)

    How lovely! Everyone looks very happy #KCACOLS


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:58 pm)

      Thank you for stopping by to comment, we are all really happy 🙂

    […]  Deep in the Spanish Campo (countryside), surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of olive trees.  An escape from the rat race, in search of a simpler life for our […]


    (October 2, 2016 - 11:16 am)

    Aw so lovely! Awesome pictures again too, it does make me quite jealous! #KCACOLS


      (October 2, 2016 - 6:59 pm)

      Ah thank you! We do have a great view to photograph, it really is beautiful here!


    (October 2, 2016 - 1:20 pm)

    What an interesting and incredible journey you have been on and continue to travel on. I too have been a subscriber for a while but do not receive new posts.


      (October 2, 2016 - 7:02 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. Oh no, I will definitely look into the email list thing…maybe it’s something we haven’t set up correctly! Thanks for letting us know!


        (October 2, 2016 - 8:21 pm)

        Just checked on wordpress and the only thing I’ve found is that you may need to request to receive emails in your manage your subscriptions page?


        (October 6, 2016 - 10:20 pm)

        Btw I am getting posts from you now! Hooray 🙂

    Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    (October 2, 2016 - 2:33 pm)

    Wow the view in that first photo is stunning. It looks like a beautiful place. I am glad that everything with your little one was sorted and as you say no ongoing treatments, it must have been good news out of bad news, if that makes sense. I have a friend whose daughter is 1 and is undergoing chemo and I just can’t imagine going through it with my child. #KCACOLS


      (October 2, 2016 - 8:36 pm)

      It really is a stunning view, we feel very lucky!! We came so close to chemo it was so very scary. The Ongology ward was a sad place to be and we saw a lot of children affected by cancer. I do hope that your friend’s daughter is well again soon.


    (October 2, 2016 - 7:08 pm)

    It always brings a tear of joy when I hear the beautiful ending of your son’s illness and envy at your new life.
    Where you are in Spain reminds me of my mother’s hometown in southern Italy


      (October 2, 2016 - 8:37 pm)

      Awh, thank you for such a lovely comment. We really have made the best of a very bad situation! It is a quite remote part of Spain but so very beautiful!

    Squirmy Popple

    (October 2, 2016 - 7:59 pm)

    What an amazing adventure! I’m so glad that your son recovered from this illness and you’re able to take this amazing step together as a family. #EatSleepBlogRT


      (October 2, 2016 - 8:38 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment! We really are having the most amazing adventure!

    Baby Anon

    (October 2, 2016 - 8:04 pm)

    This is very, very fabulous. I would love to pack the family up and relocate to Italy – your bravery in taking a next step is inspirational #EatSleepBlogRT


      (October 2, 2016 - 8:39 pm)

      Thank you for your comment. After everything our youngest son went through we really did realise that life is too short to live somewhere you don’t want to be and do something you don’t want to do!

    An imperfect mum (Catie)

    (October 3, 2016 - 5:31 am)

    I love this post! It is fabulous that you are so mindful. What an amazing place to escape too and I
    Love how you have immersed your family in the Spanish culture. Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT 🎉


      (October 3, 2016 - 9:05 pm)

      Thank you Catie we really are having a great time after such an intense time last year. It is a wonderful escape!


    (October 3, 2016 - 7:28 pm)

    How long are you staying there? Keep exploring and leaning! #eatsleepblogrt


      (October 3, 2016 - 9:00 pm)

      We can stay here until next July at least if we want to. It is such a beautiful place were going to just go with the flow!

    The Pramshed

    (October 3, 2016 - 8:42 pm)

    This is such a nice story to read! It’s so good to hear that Mayhem is ok and you all got through it. It must be amazing to live in Spain, and have the opportunity and ability to travel. I’m a little jealous. The boys are going to love growing up around different cultures and experiences. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x


      (October 3, 2016 - 8:57 pm)

      Thanks Claire for your lovely comment. It really is a special time for our family and we are enjoying every minute of immersing ourselves in the Spanish culture and traveling whilst we can !


    (October 3, 2016 - 9:01 pm)

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I love Granada. I spent three months there one summer whilst at University. It is an enchanting part of Spain. I am really jealous. I hope you have a fantastic adventure. You really deserve it after all that you have been through. Buena suerte. Pen x #KCACOLS


      (October 3, 2016 - 9:09 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment Pen. I think your Spanish is probably better than ours but we are trying to learn. Granada really is such a beautiful place and we are having a fantastic adventure!


    (October 4, 2016 - 3:00 pm)

    A fabulous experience for you all! I’m so for escaping the rat race, the daily grind, the daily squash in the tube. Your adventure seems fantastic, and what better place than Spain.#TwinklyTuesday


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:47 pm)

      It really is a fabulous place to escape. I remember the tube squash and daily grind all too well. Hope Paris is less squishy on the Metro!


    (October 4, 2016 - 7:52 pm)

    This place looks so beautiful. I love that your boys actively seek out new adventures. It is such a shame that you and your family had to go through such a horrific experience for you to decide to do this escape. It’s such a beautiful way to live whilst your children are young. What a lovely start to life.


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:55 pm)

      Thank you for your comment. It really was a horrific experience but I like to think that we turning the tables and making the best of it now. The children really are loving life!


    (October 5, 2016 - 6:42 am)

    Your pictures are beautiful and what an adventure you’re on! I’m very envious! I love quieter parts of countries! #familyfun


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:56 pm)

      Thank you for your comment…I’ve always loved cities but there really is something about escaping it all and getting back to basis, it feels like we are where we are supposed to be when we’re so much closer to nature.

    Family Makes

    (October 5, 2016 - 7:57 pm)

    Your journey makes me want to smile and cry and so many emotions in between! I truly admire what you are doing and I’m so delighted that you are enjoying it so much as a family, which is what it’s all about really isn’t it? #KCACOLS


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:57 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. It has been such a roller coaster of a journey! It really has made us realise above all else that family comes first!


    (October 5, 2016 - 8:14 pm)

    What a beautiful and exciting place to stay on your next adventure as a family. It’s pretty incredible what you’ve done and achieved. Such wonderful family moments to be had. Thanks for linking up to #familyfun


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:58 pm)

      Thank you for hosting and for your lovely comment. We really are enjoying some fantastic , quality, family time together!


    (October 6, 2016 - 6:06 am)

    It’s my first time reading your blog, and it sounds like you are on a great journey, and after your experiences it must be the best therapy just to get out into the world and enjoy it. The photos of where you are staying look amazing. #sharingthebloglove


      (October 7, 2016 - 6:59 pm)

      Thank you for your comment Jo, you’re right it really is the best medicine to spend time enjoying life with our two brilliant boys, in such a fabulous place too!


    (October 6, 2016 - 8:16 am)

    What gorgeous photos and what gorgeous boys you have. It’s so brilliant that you see the positives in what must have been an incredibly difficult time for you all. I love reading your adventures and what you are up to and where you going. It’s such an incredible and inspiring way to live, you do genuinely make me think about our own choices. I look forward to the next instalment. Thank you for sharing it at #familyfun


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:03 pm)

      Thank you for hosting and for your lovely comment. The fact that we are here now is all because we needed to change to be together as a family. The changes we made mean we have everyday together, making some awesome memories so we most definitely have to see the positives in that!


    (October 6, 2016 - 9:32 am)

    What a fantastic experience for you and your children. They will have so much life experience when they start school. They are very lucky to have such chilled out parents. Enjoy Spain! #SharingtheBlogLove


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:04 pm)

      Thank you of your lovely comment! We can see how much the boys develop and grow each day and we’re so very proud of them, they are loving it here!

    Emma Plus Three

    (October 6, 2016 - 1:57 pm)

    What an adventure! It sounds like you’re all happy and what a beautiful place x #KCACOLS


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:05 pm)

      Thank you Emma, we are all having a fabulous time enjoying life and family time together!

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    (October 6, 2016 - 6:45 pm)

    What a beautiful place for your next adventure! You’re right, this is the perfect age for your boys to do something like this – when they’re so open to embracing change and discovering new things. Enjoy Granada – I hope to read much more about it from you! Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:06 pm)

      Thank you for hosting and for your lovely comment Katy. The boys are loving their ‘campo’ life, especially tractor spotting…there are lots and lots of tractors here! Hope we can keep you updated with our adventures!

    Lucy At Home

    (October 6, 2016 - 9:06 pm)

    What an adventure! My daughter also was very ill as a baby, and it really does give you a different perspective on life. I’m glad things are going so well for you now and that your little one is so wonderfully healthy too.

    P.S. I love that last photo of the two of them in matching buckets – soooo cute!


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:07 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment Lucy. Yes, it’s definitely a different perspective if your baby has been ill, sorry to hear about your daughter, hope she’s fully recovered now too!

    dearbearandbeany (@dearbearandbean)

    (October 7, 2016 - 5:07 pm)

    It’s look perfect for your next adventure. I love reading and seeing where you are now. I can’t wait to hear more about Granada. I love that picture at the end in the buckets, too cute. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X


      (October 7, 2016 - 7:09 pm)

      Thank you for hosting and for your lovely comment. We have quite a bit of exploring to do here so hopefully we can write a few good posts about the area and our experiences!

    Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid

    (October 8, 2016 - 9:31 pm)

    It’s wonderful to read how content you all are, I hope you have lots more happy memories to come. Thanks for linking up to #SundayBest x

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:07 pm)

      Thank you for hosting and for your lovely comment Sian. We are definitely up for making many more happy family memories!

    Baby Anon

    (October 10, 2016 - 8:45 am)

    Looks idyllic. Love the fact that you’re immersing yourself in the local culture and country – what a way to learn and grow for your children x #bigpinklink

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:09 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. The boys are loving being in Spain and even picking up some of the language, hopefully we can try and all learn another language!


    (October 10, 2016 - 11:44 am)

    The place looks absolutely idyllic – warm and peaceful. And I love the gorgeous pictures you shared. Happy to hear that your son is fine. Good health is such a special blessing. #mg

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:10 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. We truly are blessed that both our sons are well…long may it continue!

    Mother of 3

    (October 10, 2016 - 11:57 am)

    I love that view! And I love how you have all embraced your new lifestyle. How exciting to explore the world together.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:11 pm)

      Thank you, the view really is amazing, we can’t get enough of it! Exploring and travelling together really is awesome!


    (October 10, 2016 - 1:35 pm)

    Brilliant! We took our 4 daughters under 8 on a trip around the world in 2008. It was the most amazing time out of the rat race and they learnt so much. They still relate their experiences in many topics in school. This is very precious family time. I’m so glad your little boy is ok. Enjoy every second of freedom from the treadmill. Alison x #mg

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:12 pm)

      Wow, travelling with four daughters must have been amazing, making life-long memories to treasure! Thanks for your lovely comment!


    (October 10, 2016 - 7:36 pm)

    What an exciting adventure you are on. I’m green with envy. I’m so glad you got a good outcome with your little one’s tumour. Well done to parent’s intuition, you probably saved his life. Enjoy your time out there, it looks amazing! #bigpinklink

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:13 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment Harriet. There really is a lot to say for parent’s intuition…never doubt it!


    (October 10, 2016 - 7:59 pm)

    Wow the new home and landscape sound so idyllic. I’m so happy to read your story and to hear that it’s all worked out for the best, well done in fighting for your family and giving them such wonderful adventures x #mg

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:14 pm)

      The landscape here really is wonderful, such a complete change and so very different to the UK. Thank you for your lovely comment!


    (October 10, 2016 - 10:04 pm)

    Oh my goodness and there I was for a second thinking I had stumbled on a simple tale of upping sticks and moving to the beautiful Spanish countryside. What a scary journey you’ve been on and I’m not surprised your experience has made you think about what is really important in life. I’m so pleased to hear your little one is doing well and that you’re all enjoying your new simplified life together. It makes me wonder if we’re doing the right thing by staying in outer London with the hussle and bustle and expensive living that will force me back to work after mat leave….hmm. Now I’ve just verbalised that, I think I need to do some serious thinking! xx #mg

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:18 pm)

      What we went through really did make us evaluate what was important. It’s all too easy to get caught up in a consumerist society and forget what we want to achieve and gain from life, not just careers and money but life! Hope you work it out, we are really happy just being together as a family! Thank you for stopping by to comment!

    Agent Spitback

    (October 11, 2016 - 6:06 am)

    Wow, the scenery is stunning and somewhat relaxing…I can see how far it is from the rat race. I am sorry that your family had to go through what you all did and definitely a good reason to cherish the simpler life. That’s what all of us should strive for, to look for the simpler joys and know that that will be more than enough. Thanks for linking with #bigpinklink

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (October 11, 2016 - 6:20 pm)

      Thank you for you for hosting and for stopping by to comment. The view here really is stunning. One you definitely can’t get bored of! Just seeing our boys happy reminds us every day how content we are here in the middle of nowhere!

    […] Escaping the Rat Race – A New Chapter […]


    (October 15, 2016 - 8:50 am)

    What an amazing view! I am so glad he is healthy now, he looks so gorgeous too in that pic! It is scary to think what you went through! I am glad you are now living such a beautiful life with wondrous adventures! #mg

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