I had to share Freunde Von Freunden's playlist of their favorite tunes of 2014 - a brilliant mix and exactly what I needed to be listening to on this hungover-y Sunday morning...
- Parker Ighile – This Is America Feat. G-Eazy
- FKA Twigs – Kicks
- Jamie XX – All Under One Roof Raving
- Sango – Me dê Amor
- Lil Silva – Don’t You Love (Feat. BANKS)
- ESTA – Luna
- Phantogram – Fall In Love (Until The Ribbon Breaks Reimagination)
- Mapei – Don’t Wait (Kingdom Remix)
- Bonobo – Flashlight
- Kiasmos – Burnt
- Kwabs - Wrong Or Right (Ben Pearce Remix)
- London Grammar – Devil Inside (INXS Cover)
My friend Stephanie and her boyfriend Jason are in town from London this weekend, staying with Martin & Manuel, so we'd planned to catch-up for lunch today - Martin had us meet at La Vermu in Gracia (Carrer Sant Domènec, 15), a vermuteria that I've been meaning to try out. I hadn't had breakfast yet so swooshing down two quick vermuts before lunch had me all merry. Every time I'm in Gracia on the weekend, I find myself enjoying how lively it is with young families making the most of their local shops & cafes, La Vermu did not disappoint on that front as it was full of parents talking & drinking away while their kids played on amongst themselves, giving the place a very cozy feel. After our aperitivo, Martin had reserved us a table at La Pubilla (Plaça de Libertat, 23) for lunch, a minimalist "market to table" restaurant just opposite Gracia's Llibertat market. The food from La Pubilla's daily menu was delicious, the wine aplenty, our waiter was hot, so all in all, we had a lovely time. Their menu is made for sharing so we tried a fair few dishes - my favorites were the steak tartar, the aubergine caviar, the cod with calçots & romesco and all the desserts (lemon & vodka sorbet, lemon meringue tart and truffles). I'd say that La Pubilla is to Barcelona what The Walrus & The Carpenter is to Seattle.
After lunch, we walked over to Casa Fuster for a cocktail in their luscious velour bar then made it to mine where we made our way through my liquor cabinet while playing Cards Against Humanity. Mariana, (a fellow Getty Images alum) was in town for work from FLA and joined us, aiding us on our path to debauchery!
Fun times... tomorrow will be rough!
Disclaimer - photos taken from Google as I was too boozed-up to take my own
OMA Bistró is a new café that opened-up late last year down the road from mine, on the corner of Consell de Cent and Casanova, opposite a little palm tree adorned church, making for a great backdrop for those who wish to daydream out of the café's large windows. OMA has good coffee (a bespoke blend prepared by Cafés El Magnifico), a weekday lunch menu, serves brunch on the weekends, it has a great selection of freshly pressed juices, locally brewed beers, cakes and anything you'd want to snack on while catching-up with your friends.
What makes OMA work for me, other than the friendly staff, is the space - it's not often that you'll find large windows and an open space like this in Barcelona, I often go there just to read and chill on one of their sofas, not too shabby!
After mmmming & ahhhhing for months about my final logo, I decided to get unbranded business cards made until I finalise my branding. I ended-up choosing the ever classic British stationery master, Smythson, for my cards... I also gifted myself a precious grey leather diary, a little bit of style helps me stay organised, I swear!
Palo Alto Market is a new Barcelona institution: a monthly street market with food trucks, art, design, vintage and hand-made products as well as music and street performances. The market's aim is to create forum for Barcelona's independent creatives to showcase and ultimately sell their pieces but it seems to be doing more than that, it's creating a community of like-minded people... feel like you have you heard that before? It's the official slogan of the 'hipster' movement. In fact, it's a brief phrase which likely sums up any non-political movement. Either way, I was amused at all of the pervasive street styles - a lot of funky sneakers, asymmetric haircuts (unfortunate fringes/bangs?), statement eyewear, thrift shop items and poorly laid-on red lipstick... My joiner fashion contribution were my Stan Smiths & Illesteva sunglasses, I tried, non?
What I ended-up appreciating the most, was the location in which the market was held - an old leather factory. A short history of said factory: illustrator Javier Mariscal (his animated film Chico & Rita is a gem, it's on Netflix, check it out) discovered the old, decrepit space which he quickly picked-up and turned into his studio. With the help of his brother, Santi Marsical, and landscaper José Farriol, they turned the space into a luscious garden (which caused me much envy & mediterranean country home inspiration) and creative compound by the name of Palo Alto, with nearly two dozen art studios and offices for architects, animators, sculptors, photographers and, of course, Estudio Mariscal - they even have a staff cantina which is open to the public!
If you're in Barcelona on a sunny day and want to avoid the tourists in the center of town or at the beach, take a detour to Poble Nou barrio for a perusal of the magical gardens and a spot of lunch at Palo Alto, 30-38 Carrer dels Pellaires!
Happy New Year 2015 to you all! Were you ready to say goodbye to 2014 or sorry to see it go?
I am super excited to embark on this next journey as last year was a year of difficult changes, solitude, lessons learnt and a hell of a lot of introspection. I am motivated to make this year count, I have high hopes! Here are my new year's resolutions:
- Focus on physical & emotional health;
- Grow the confidence to fall in love again;
- Travel more;
- Be a more dedicated blogger;
- Get involved with organisations helping to prevent animal extinction
What are some of your resolutions for 2015?
So as to ring in the new year on the blog, here are some shots from my dinner party! (I currently have no overhead lighting in the living room so our photos are either overexposed or grainy, sorry.) We had salad, raclette (a very easy & sociable meal if you're looking for a no-fuss main course - make sure you get Swiss and not French raclette cheese!) and for dessert, I ordered a couple Moelleux au Chocolat from Moi-Yo, a Barcelona based baker who only makes moelleux but has a few different flavours - we had the butter based one as well as the extra virgin olive oil one, I preferred the latter!
December was a very busy month: my mother was in town, dentist visits for both us + plus a load of work! (that's my excuse for neglecting the blog...)
One of the highlights of my mother's visit was a lunch we had at Saboc in the Born - Saboc's menu is divided not by courses but by temperature, from cold to very, very hot, pointedly self-labeled as 'temperature cuisine'. The concept is order to share - my mother & I chose against sharing since none of our menu choices matched (mothers!!) however it ended-up being to my advantage as my truffle rigatoni was so delicious my mother would have had to wrench it away from me to try some! Another plus to visiting Saboc is the decor, I have to find out who designed the space.
Here's a photo of Mams at Cornelia & Co, one of my local faves for lunch!
My friend Irène, aka Le Boobi, came to visit for the weekend: Boobi & I met while working together at Getty Images in London, we became really good friends and have luckily stayed in touch as I've country-hopped. This was Boobi's first weekend away sans bébé so the plan was to have no plans, just lazy strolls around the city and good food. We were lucky to have amazing weather on Saturday so we got to walk along the beach, through the Born and back into the Eixample. I made a dinner reservation for us at Mont Bar, a restaurant around the corner from mine serving tapas with an edge - very flavourful & eccentric food in a cosy brasserie setting, with a great wine selection - we were excited to try the web revered smoked tuna carpaccio which did not leave us wanting + I continued in my research of Ribera del Dueros, discovering Bodega Los Astrales' "Astrales Christina 2011", like an enveloping hug on a cold evening! Reviens nous voir, Boobi!
I was just watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey on ITV iPlayer and this ad for John Lewis was played during the episode, it's truly heartwarming!! I do love me a penguin! #MontyThePenguin