VIVA True Stories - A hidden gem
VIVA customers: Paul Dix & Ellie Wood - Where and what they bought: Finca in Olias just outside Málaga - Their dream: To enjoy an idyllic life in the sun.
The Costa del Sol is the simply the best-loved region of Spain for Brits, with many choosing the area to settle and enjoy an idyllic new life in the sun. So for Midlanders Paul Dix and Ellie Wood to find an undiscovered hideaway among Málaga's hilltop villages was an unmissable opportunity.
Olias, where the couple now live with their son Alfie, is just ten kilometres from Málaga, yet couldn't be further from its hectic urban lifestyle. The traditional village is set into the hillside so unobtrusively that you can easily miss the turning off the main road - a major benefit for Paul and Ellie.
“This is the last of the untouched Málaga villages”
The only English family with a home here, Ellie tells us that “this is a very deliberate lifestyle choice... we love the idea of living a simple life away from the tourist route, and the house is perfect for our needs”.
Now living in the country house they have lovingly rebuilt, Ellie is able to apply her creative talent to making jewellery, as well as holding parties where “everyone learns to make their own jewellery, which proves to be a lot of fun!” While Paul enjoys a truly varied career that includes behavioural consultancy, writing - his book Pivotal Behaviour Management Handbook has become a classic in teaching circles - and juggling. “I've been performing for several years at fairs, parties and festivals,” he explains. One of the prerequisites of the new home was space for juggling and trapeze work and the barn next to the house - formerly occupied by goats - is ideal.
Life was very different back in the UK. Paul and Ellie were both secondary school drama teachers. They were living near Birmingham, working hard, and dreaming of a lifestyle change. It was a dream that began several years ago, when Paul bought two old farmhouses near Olias with a friend, before purchasing and rebuilding the couple's current village home. Basically a ruin, they transformed the country townhouse keeping many of the original features, such as its thick stonewalls and sunny roof terrace. “It would have been cheaper to start from scratch,” says Paul “but the house has much more character now”.
With frequent trips back to the UK for consultancy work and a second book in the pipeline, Paul and Ellie are close to achieving their ideal lifestyle. “Our dream is to spend the winters here in Spain and the summers touring festivals in Europe with the performance work and jewellery stalls.” It looks like they are well on their way to creating a gem of a lifestyle.