Nice Things and more...

I was reading the latest post by Freunde von Freunden which was interviewing Barcelona local Paloma Lanna as this one photo of Paloma on her roof terrace caught my eye (stylish chair, rug, foliage, fresh air, no prying eyes) - it's so hot'n'sticky in Barcelona right now, I could really do with a roof terrace to lounge about barely clad on!

Reading through the article, I found out that Paloma runs Nice Things by Paloma S, her parents' fashion label, as well as having her own less mainstream label, Paloma Wool, and both are very very cool. Here are some pieces from Nice Things that I'm considering - they're on sale, no guilt there!

CINEMA: "PALO ALTO"

I just saw "Palo Alto", a film written & directed by Gia Coppola but based on the collection of short stories by James Franco who also stars in the movie. It's one of those movies that leaves you with a feeling that you don't want to immediately lose, so you find the soundtrack online (thank god for the 21st century) and listen to it so as to perpetuate the sensation a little while longer... Here's a link to a short behind the scenes movie made for Vice and here's the link to the soundtrack on Spotify. Let me know what you think - I'm off to read the book while listening to the soundtrack, laters! 

LE WEEKEND

My friend Amanda came to visit - we became friends while working at Getty Images both in London and Seattle. Amanda now lives in Seattle but was in London for work so popped over to BCN for the weekend. It was Amanda's birthday so I reserved us a table in a restaurant I wanted to try out, Pepito. Now it's quite an interesting restaurant: all the waiters are tall & broad men, they all wear brown waist to floor leather aprons and get very close & personal when describing their menu to you. At first I thought that maybe it was the bottle of cava we'd drank before getting to the restaurant that may have lead me to believe that the waiters were all acting out their romance novel fantasies (maître d'homme, when sitting us at our table: "we chose this table for you so that you can watch us as we work" *side smile, wink*) but when our dessert arrived (bottom right photo), I knew I wasn't seeing things!! Regardless of the 50 Shades of Grey connotations delivered by the wait staff, the food & wine was delicious and the cognac from Cadiz was spectacular, I had no idea Spain made cognac! We finished the evening off on the roof terrace of Hotel Omm as Barcelona always deserves to be seen from above!

BEAUTY - MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS

I have always had a slight obsession with beauty products... I have to keep myself under check as I could easily find myself with 5 black mascaras or 3 day cremes, leaving me at a loss as to which to use, then having to chuck them out as they've expired! Smell is key for me in the selection of any beauty product as regardless of how amazing it is, if it smells too strong or synthetic, I just can't do it. Also, I don't know if it's a French thing, but more or less other than Kiehl's (which is French in a way is it's now owned by L'Oreal), I really only buy French products, oui, oui! Anyways, I thought I'd share my 'régime beauté' with you... (I'll leave make-up & perfumes for another post!)

Face: In the morning, I always wash my face in the shower as I hate washing my face over the sink and ending-up with water/soap running down my neck or getting it in my hair! I use Caudalie's Instant Foaming Cleanser along with a muslin cloth (try Liz Earle's) as a gentle scrub leaving my skin primed for hydration. I used to use La Prairie's Foam Cleanser which is fantastic but 3x the price of Caudalie's, totally worth it if you can afford it... After the shower, I use a spray on tonic by Caudalie, aptly named Beauty Elixir (does wonders for my pores, closes them right up), then it's time for hydration: Clarins Double Serum, Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, and Clarins Multi Active Jour! Being 35 and a city dweller, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer avoid cleaning/hydratihave  I clean my face with Bioderma Sensibio H2O to remove dirt & make-up, spray on the Beauty Elixir, then Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye and La Nuit De Chanel, the latter is more for the smell than the hydration - I'm fickle that way! I have to say that this new 30 something regime upgrade has been phenomenal, I have really noticed the elasticity of my skin improve and the wrinkles become less prominent. Totally worth the time & money!

Hands: I love Aesop's Reverence Aromatique Handwash which is a gentle exfoliant and the Vetiver leaves your hands soft & smelling delicious! I also use their Hand Balm! Aesop have the best packaging on the market IMO, upping the style of any bathroom, especially one like mine in Barcelona which is in desperate need of it.

Hair: I am devoted to Kiehl's when it comes to shampoo & conditioner, using their Amino Acid collection as I love the way it smells and ever since using it, I no longer have to spend hours untangling my hair nor do I get split ends! On my damp post shower hair I use La Biosthetique Essence De Proteine, a fantastic leave-in hydrating spray that my hairdresser suggested, and once it's dry I use Davines' Oil for extra hydration and shine. 

Body: When I was in New York last November, I stayed with friends who didn't really have a bathroom/shower at theirs (NYC living...), so, as members of Equinox they got me a day pass for me to shower there - Equinox have Kiehls' products in the showers which is where I discovered Kiehl's Grapefruit Bath & Shower Liquid Cleanser and have been using it ever since! It leaves my skin so hydrated that unless we're in the depths of Winter, I don't really need to use body lotion... but when I do, I use Avene's Cold Cream. I sometimes use Nuxe's Huile Prodigieuse in the evening as it has such a luxurious smell, it is my perfume. 

Summer: I hate SPF, I always feel like it leaves my skin tingling and not in a good way! This Summer I have settled for Clinique's Sun Broad Spectrum for body & face. I also use Lancaster's After Sun Tan Maximiser, it really really works!

Voila! What's your beauty regimen?

LE WEEKEND

I knew that when I got to Barcelona, I'd be getting loads of visits from my friends! So far I've had Sophie (London), Erin & Dan (Seattle via Paris), Valentina & family (Milano), Berengere (Paris), this weekend it was Silvia (Milano) and next week it's Amanda (Seattle via London). 

I hadn't seen Silvia since 2012, when she came to Seattle to visit me and we then went off to Hawaii (Maui & Big Island) for a couple weeks, so it was great to catch up in person. Our goal for this weekend was getting our bodies & minds to the beach for some relaxing & suntanning! On Saturday, we went to the beach in Barceloneta, lunch at El Gallito then back home for rest before getting ready for a night out! We tried out this restaurant I'd heard about called Big Fish in the Born, the restaurant design was nice but the food was too oily/flavourless and the atmosphere was dull. It's a shame as it had potential!

On Sunday, we went for brunch at Granja Petitbo (my favorite) then off to the beach in Garraf - by 5pm, it was still 30C in the shade... a hot day!  We were so beat by the heat when we got back, that we ordered Indian and watched a movie... Life is hard, I'm telling you!

PS: I have to start checking out more new places for coffee, brunches/lunches, HH, cocktails and dinners, will make more of a conscious effort to visit them with my SLR and post reviews here! Next on my list is Taranna and Satan's Coffee Corner.

BEAUTIFUL RECIPE ILLUSTRATIONS

How stunning are these illustrations of classic Mediterranean recipes! I would definitely buy a cookbook that is compiled of recipes laid out like this, wouldn't you?

These illustrations were created by Felicita, take a moment to check out her other work.