Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business - Gandy-Draper. Born a "Norverner", she then spent most of her life "Dann Saff" before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle's loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine - although not necessarily in that order. More about Elle - HERE | Got a news story to share? Click HERE | Want to write for Spain Buddy? Click HERE | Interested in our low cost advertising? Click HERE


  1. Pauline Fuller
    September 24, 2016 @ 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Enjoyed reading.

  2. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:04 pm

    Our pleasure Pauline. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
    E xxx

  3. Julie
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

    Very inspiring. Lanzarote is my passion one day.

  4. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

    Follow your heart! It’s not as difficult to make the move as you’d think xx

  5. Sue Lea
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

    Hi Elle and Alan, so enjoyed reading your account if 10 years in Spain. We are quite close to you, we are near Huescar. Moved here December 2015 permanently and so might still be in honeymoon period, but really enjoying our lovely cave house in the hills, with our dog Buddy. Graham and I are both early retirees and are keeping busy doing jobs in the cave and setting up a garden, making friends and getting to know the locals. We hope to be able to stay here the rest of our lives too. Our beautiful daughter is in her second year at University with a fabulous future ahead of her we hope and pray, so all in all we couldn’t be happier. A lotto win would be nice but not a necessity to happiness. Looking forward to seeing more from you at SpainBuddy, well done so far, all the very best ??

  6. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

    It’s lovely to hear your news too!
    A cave house eh? I never thought I’d fancy one of those… but have seen some stunners on the telly. Am so pleased that you’re happy.
    Have a wonderful weekend, and give Buddy a tickle from me. xxx

  7. Audrey Young
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:53 pm

    Love Lanzarote so much.
    Thanks for sharing xx

  8. Carol
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

    How exciting and fascinating. It’s always been a dream of mine but so many things hold me back. I’m glad you had the courage to go for it. Life in Spain sounds perfect for you… Thanks for sharing.

  9. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:56 pm

    It’s a wonderful place to live… but the mainland had more of what we needed. Lanzarote will always be very special to us though xx

  10. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 1:57 pm

    If you really want it – you’ll find a way to make it happen. Good luck! xxx

  11. David L Frayne
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:08 pm

    Hola Elle and Alan

    We did meet once when you were in Playa Blanca ,we had just moved over almost nine years ago . We have had the same experiences except for the dogs ,it could be us you are talking about it is all so close to us . We had a business and are now retired and met many different people as you did and have made friends for life.

    We wish you a long and healthy life in Spain


    Dave and Amanda Frayne

  12. Garry Cribb
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

    Enjoyable and fascinating read. Thanks for posting your experience.

  13. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

    Our pleasure! xx

  14. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

    Ah yes – I think I remember. So pleased Playa Blanca is still wonderful for you. Hopefully see you over there again soon. x

  15. Cheryl den Heyer
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I made the move here to Almeria 2 years ago after being made redundant. My husband still works and lives in the UK. I also found that my rescue dog and 2 cats keep me amused. Hopefully if we win the lotto my husband can join me as that is the only thing missing. I live in a small hamlet where nobody speaks any English and I only know the odd Spanish word. But I’m working on it.

  16. Peter and Pam Mitry
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:27 pm

    We loved Lanzarote and once owned a timeshare there. We eventually moved to mainland Spain in 1997, having lived in Cadiz, Almeria and Costa del Sol. We now live in Marina de Casares, just 100 metres from Sabinillas beach! We speak passable Spanish and would we go back to UK? NEVER!! Peter and Pam Mitry.

  17. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:28 pm

    Your story is one we hear quite a bit over here – hubby still working in the UK but then coming to Spain for quality time with their spouse.
    A lotto win would be nice eh!
    You’ll get there with the Spanish language – I’m finding that I am picking it up a lot faster now that nobody speaks English.
    Enjoy Almería – we are! xxx

  18. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

    Am pleased you are so settled, Peter and Pam. Sounds like you enjoy trying lots of different scenes. We’re the same. We did the “resort” and we did the “campo”. Now we are trying the “town” and are right in the middle of it. We think this is it for us xxx

  19. Niki
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

    In awe. I will do it. I will get there. Thanks for writing this x

  20. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

    That’s the spirit – think positive and it’ll happen. Good luck! E xx

  21. Antonio Aldeanueva
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

    Mi hermanita Bonita!! These is simply awesome!! You are a Mirror to look to!

  22. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

    Ah… mi hermanito favorito!! You are one of the first friends we got to know. Miss you!!
    When you come to visit – we can all speak Spanish instead of English (like before).
    Besazos y abrazos.

  23. Tony Murray
    September 24, 2016 @ 3:11 pm

    Hi Elle,

    Just read the article while having a cup of tea here on a very windy and rainy day in Ireland
    and i very much enjoyed it from start to finish

    Best Wishes


  24. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

    Ah but Ireland really has its charms too. I could just demolish a plate of potato cakes, vegetable roll, bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms and soda bread! Washed down with a huge mug of tea.
    Glad you enjoyed it. Stay indoors… warm and dry xxx

  25. Mandy Coupland
    September 24, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

    We are looking to move to Spain next year so was really interested to hear of your experiences. Looking into Axaquia at present . We love the Spanish way of life and the fiesta around every corner….plus of course the weather!!

  26. Elle Draper
    September 24, 2016 @ 4:26 pm

    Axarquia is certainly popular – and from how pretty it is, I’m not surprised!
    Good luck with your plans! xxxx

  27. Robert Edwards
    September 25, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    Congratulations to you both! It’s not easy to uproot to another country and start a new life, especially a new business abroad. Here’s to your next 10 Years! All the best.

  28. sean johnson
    September 25, 2016 @ 11:00 am

    i love your story sounds like me and my wife but we havent achevied the move yet butt we do travel to spain every year in motorhome and im sure now my children ar older 1 day we will travel down south and wont come back to uk we love the uk butt we love spain aswell for health reasons the relaxed feeling you get not the hustle and maddness off the uk ?

  29. Elle Draper
    September 25, 2016 @ 12:11 pm

    Sounds like you’re halfway here already ;)
    Enjoy your motorhoming xxx

  30. Elle Draper
    September 25, 2016 @ 12:12 pm

    Thanks Robert. You’re right – it’s not easy… but if you get the bit between your teeth… it becomes easier. You’ve done the same – with grit and determination xx

  31. Richie
    September 25, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

    What a great read….

    We both love love Spain too ….did the Camino this time last year….and we go climbing in El chorro and surrounding areas……so much to see away from the holiday resorts which are not for us…

    Love the Spanish villages …..and the food is beautiful…..love the prices too ?

    Might move over some day soon…

  32. Elle Draper
    September 25, 2016 @ 12:21 pm

    Yes we’re the same. We did love living in Playa Blanca, and it was the right move for us when we first moved over… but now we love living in a very Spanish area… away from the tourist bubble. xx

  33. Anne & Mike
    September 26, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

    Hola Ellie,
    We have just retired and on a road trip to Spain for our first winter with our 5 rescue dogs! Your words are inspiring and outline all we hope to find in Spain. We have the first three months in Costa Tropical and the next three in Almeria so it would be nice to catch up sometime as you sound very similar to us, mad dog lovers, charity workers etc. and we would value the wisdom of your experiences. We are determined to hable espanol and have started to improve already since arriving last week after our 3 months of lecciones in the UK. I shall bookmark your website for the future as we shall most likely be looking for a long term rental with our dogs and/or a purchase sometime. Many congratulations on your 10 year Spainiversary!

  34. Mary McHarg
    September 26, 2016 @ 10:09 pm

    Congratulations, enjoyed reading your experiences. It’s 9 years for us, and had tough times too, but like you we have found our special place and don’t intend moving again

  35. Elle Draper
    September 27, 2016 @ 10:57 am

    Flies by eh Mary! Hope the new place is living up to expectations xx

  36. Elle Draper
    September 27, 2016 @ 10:58 am

    HI Anne & Mike.
    Five?! Are you mental?! :D Three is enough for us he he.
    Yes it would be lovely to see you if you come anywhere near Vélez-Blanco – although I wouldn’t recommend getting all our dogs together as there ould be bloodshed.
    Keep in touch!
    E x

  37. Jeany Wilson
    September 27, 2016 @ 4:46 pm

    Hi Elle, I Just found your page so thought I’d add if that’s okay.
    I’m chomping at the bit to move away from the U. K.
    We are looking to retire early,sell up, and just go for it !!! .
    We have thought about Lanzarote, however I read that property is very difficult to come by now for long term rent so we think we will end up on the mainland.
    I’m quite lucky in that i speak pretty good Spanish having lived and worked on the Costa Blanca for 5 years, returning back to the U.K in 1999 so my advice is please keep going with your Spanish lessons. All of a sudden it will fall into place. Once you grasp the language, it will become second nature. Speak with the locals as much as possible. This is where you will grasp all your grammar, pronunciation & verbs.
    I am looking to take a TEFL course before we make the move, so I hope to teach English on a one to one basis once we settle just for those people who just need a little extra help learning. Got to have something to do, it’s not all sand and sangria.
    Good luck to you for the next 10 years.

  38. Elle Draper
    September 27, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

    Yes of course it’s okay to add!
    Lanzarote is booming right now, and yes… long term rentals are as rare as hen’s teeth (and double the price!). But if you’re set on lanzarote… sit tight and keep watching – something will come up.
    Yes – am enjoying my lessons. It’s been a shock to relaise that my Spanish was SOOO bad – especially as the locals here are so forgiving. I had a chat with a fella in the photocopy shop yesterday (I was printing out some Spanish worksheets). he was surprised I was bothering with lessons and said that we understand each other perfectly. I then pointed out that I need to pass a couple of exams to get citizenship and he then agreed that I’m rubbish ha ha. This time next year though, we’ll all laugh about it and I’ll be communicating much more accurately I’m sure.
    As an aside – you do know there’s a corking little language school for sale in Puerto del Carmen at the moment? Well established… great reputation… only €35k. It’s being sold by a friend of mine. May not be of interest to you – but if it is, then drop me an email to info@spainbuddy.com and I’ll whizz you the link over.
    Good luck with everything Jenny!!
    E xx

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