Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend, even if it was pretty damn cold!
I’ve had the obligatory January cold/flu so I’ve been reaching for all the layers I can find and to stay extra warm I think all the cosy accessories are a must- hats, gloves and scarves! Plus, I’ve heard it’s getting even colder this week, to as low as -3 today so you may see me wearing two sets of gloves soon!
I don’t really have a specific style when it comes to accessories but I’ve recently been moving away from wearing black and I think that although black accessories have a place I really like wearing lighter coloured neutrals or pops of colours too. I really love a scarf, I picked that up from my mum and even in the summer I like a silk scarf but if it’s cold enough I definitely wear a hat and gloves!
I hope you are all well and had a lovely Christmas/New Year. I had a nice Christmas/New Year but if I’m honest it’s probably been the time around it that I have been enjoying most. I’m officially back to work today and it feels good to be back after having some down-time. My boyfriend even called me from work this morning to say how much he has enjoyed the last two week, we didn’t do much but it was throughly enjoyable and has shown me that maybe I should be taking some more time off this year.
I was watching everyone’s yearly recaps on Instastories, the ones that literally went on forever- which had me thinking about the last year and going through my own camera roll. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others and although I didn’t have a baby, get married, buy a house ordo any of the other monumental things, I had a pretty good year. It was nice but I’m very much looking forward to the new year.
I don’t really set strict resolutions but here are a few things I want to achieve/do this year:
As I child I use to read loads. I spent endless Saturdays in the local library and was at Waterstones on the day of any Jacqueline Wilson release but since then it’s been a bit of a struggle to read much. Last year I started to read again, with a little help from Audible along the way (let me know if you’d like me to share some tips about getting back to reading) but this year I’d like to read a little more. I have a GoodReads account and I’ve set my target at 16- wish me luck and leave me book recommendations in the comments. In particular I need to make a real effort to read fiction!
2. Mask weekly
I think masks can make a huge difference to my skin but for some reason I still don’t use them quite as much as I should which has to change. I have a few I like but I haven’t found one I can’t live without so if anyone has any recommendations then please leave them in the comments.
3. New York
I know this is crazy but I’ve never left Europe. I’ve travel loads in Europe but never outside it, which is why I felt this had to change. Traveling further really fills me with anxiety but it’s something I want to overcome. I have booked a trip to New York as I felt this was a nice middle ground, okay- it’s not in Europe but culture wise it’s still very similar. Don’t get me wrong I really want to explore other cultures and I think once I’m there I’d love it but for now New York is my stepping stone. I’ve never been excited about New York but now that it’s booked I can not wait. Just another 90 days to go. I’m already getting impatient.
4. Say yes more and say no more
I often say no to things that are out of my comfort zone but I want to start saying yes to those things and start making an effort to do more. At the same time I want to say no to things that I’m not keen on doing instead of simply saying yes because I feel I should.
5. Be more eco-friendly
Honestly it’s unlikely I’ll be perfect at this but I really want to make an effort and move in the right direction with this. I want to buy less bottled water, less one use coffee cups, eat less meat and buy less stuff that I don’t need.
6. Buy a house
Writing this one down scares me. I’ve been putting this off for ages despite my boyfriend wanting to buy one for a while but I finally feel ready and I think we’ll start looking next month. This is something I’ll start talking about a little more in here once we have the ball rolling but honestly, I’m terrified (& excited).
7. Exercise more
I’m not going to go too much into this because I haven’t been to the gym in about 6 weeks. I want to just be more active. I have a pilates class I want to go to and I’m looking for a few more classes. I do enjoy the gym but I think I want to try more classes instead as although I enjoy the gym my motivation to get there is low.
8. Have less
I will never be a minimalist. It’s not really in my nature and I’m usually a more-is-more kind of person. However, more isn’t more and I really want to down size the amount of belongings I have, in particular beauty products but everything else too. I want to buy less things and honestly if I wasn’t a blogger I think I’d to a no-buy first half of the year but I can’t see that as being possible with my Joh but I’ll definitely be buying less.
We had such a fun time in Barcelona- which means we ate lots! Michael and I absolutely love food so our days we’re quite focused around where we ate. We really indulged (trying to be super healthy now!) but we walked so much whilst away that we didn’t feel super guilty and to be honest I just had such a great time that I’m not too worried about the calories. I think what I’m trying to say is that if you’re looking for a super healthy list- this isn’t it. We ate doughnuts from local bakeries, Filipinos (biscuits we don’t get in the UK) from the supermarkets, pancakes for breakfast and burgers for dinner- it was great!
Brunch & Cake
If you’re in Barcelona for the Instagram posts you simply have to visit here, just check our their Instagram here. I have never seen such Instagramable food! That said the lighting inside is awful so I’d recommend sitting outside if you can. Michael went for Pancakes, which were completely covered in beautiful fruits and a pink coffee (I can’t remember what it was), I opted for their take on egg benedict: shrimp, poached eggs, lobster hollandaise and salad on house made black bun with a fresh juice. It was one of our healthiest meals but the portions are huge- although I’d say it’s a tiiinny bit of style of substance, the food was nice, don’t get me wrong, but not amazing, although it looked amazing. It’s great for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has vegan/gluten free/dairy free options too.
El Petit Princep
This is a really cute little cafe that services coffee, breakfast and lunch. Great if you’re looking for something not too fancy but still delicious. It had a nice mixture of locals and tourists. We went for pancakes, toast and an acai bowl. It was my first acai bowl ever and I really like it. Service was a little slow so probably not the place to go if you’re in a rush but great for a little stop off and to relax with some great coffee, a fresh juice and a delicious sandwich.
Unlike some cities (particularly Rome) Barcelona is a city where you an easily find good, affordable food/coffee. We stumbled into 365 coffee on the way home as we still had a 30 minute walk and to be honest needed a little hit of caffeine and sugar. It’s probably not worth going out of your way for but it was lovely, we had a doughnut and a coffee each- it was affordable and they had white marble tables.
El Tiet Taver Teca
I really wanted to have some tapas whilst in Barcelona but they can be quite pricey. I’m not too sure where I originally heard of this restaurant but I had it pinned to my map and it was just round the corner from our hotel. As it was Valentines day we did book but when we arrived after 8PM the hotel was completely empty and although it didn’t really fill up whilst we were there they were turning people away as the tables had been reserved so I’d definitely recommend booking. We shared about 7 tapas, which came to about 60Euros with soft drinks, which I think is quite reasonable for tapas but quite expensive for the amount of food. Everything was delicious but it’s not necessarily the most filling food (well my boyfriend doesn’t think so) but I love the idea of small plates and getting to try lots of different things. We had patatas bravas, Spanish omelette, the octopus, squid, the veil and a few other bits.
We visited here for breakfast on route to Park Guell (don’t get me wrong, it’s a long walk but doable) and it was our favourite breakfast of the trip. It’s a really cute restaurant with high ceilings, the staff was super friendly and I’m so sad I didn’t get a photo of the pink bathrooms! Michael opted for Huevos Rancheros (which I did test and they were amazing!!) I went for simple scrambled eggs, which were delicious too- although Spanish bacon is nowhere near as tasty as English Bacon! If you’re in Barcelona a little longer and looking for a good place to work from I also think this would be great as it big enough that you’re not taking up too much space. Would definitely be going back next time I’m in Barcelona.
Everyone had recommended we go to Milk restaurant- literally everyone! I had decided to go there for breakfast the morning after and instead go for dinner at Marmalade, which is Milk’s Sister restaurant. We didn’t end up going to Milk as I wasn’t blown away by Marmalade. Cocktails and atmosphere were great! If you’re looking for a cool place on a weekend, it even has a pool table, I’d definitely go here but the food was just average. I wasn’t blown away but the vibe is great- again I’d recommend booking.
Our final breakfast of the trip was here, quite a dark restaurant so if you’re looking for that Instagram shot ask for a table outside/at the front of the cafe. Michael and I got eggs Benedict and scrambled eggs- they were great.
We went a little out of our way for this (although it’s near the food market which we were too late for) and I must admit it wasn’t anything special other than providing a few pretty shots I may later use on Instagram. They weren’t bad but I’d rather the ones we bought in a little bakery that we happened to stumble across, they were far more minimal and therefore had less calories, they we’re cheaper and easier to find.
If I had to go to any of these restaurant again tomorrow, I’d chose Surf House. It’s on the beach, so I was basically sold even before we got there but the food was the best we had on the trip too! Food is only served outside so remember that if the weather isn’t great but otherwise it’s the perfect spot. Michael has a Chicken Burrito, I had a burger and we shared fries. The must have item though has to be the Kinder Bueno Milkshake, I don’t usually like Milk Shakes but it was AMAZING! And it’s outside, on the sea front. I’d happily go there again tomorrow. 10/10.
I’m now currently Googling ‘Kinder Bueno Milkshakes in London’, if you know where I can find one let me know
There were still so many places I wanted to visit so hopefully I’ll be back in Barcelona soon! Since returning to London, I’ve been eating far less burgers and I’m back in the gym but it was so worth it!
Have you been to any of these? What is your favourite place in Barcelona?
We had a super early flight out of Gatwick and once we landed in Venice we jumped in a Taxi Boat to the city and I must admit it was quite the experience- I wouldn’t mind getting a taxi boat everywhere! Once we checked into our hotel the eating started and we went on a food & drink walking tour. We made our way around the Bacari’s, drank Aperol Spritz and ate all the cicchetti we could.
With a tummy lined with delicious food, we did a little bit of exploring, we wondered around the tiny streets, followed the signs to Basilica de San Marco and picked up some gelato for a touristy photo over the canals. I hadn’t Googled Venice before the trip so didn’t know what to expect but it’s beautiful, we didn’t get to go inside the Basilica (saving that for next time) but even the outside was breathtaking. We ended the afternoon at Danieli Hotel for cocktails on the terrace before it started to rain and we had to take it inside.
But the best part of the trip was in the evening…
We jumped in a taxi boat back to our hotel to get ready for dinner, I didn’t have time for much, I just added a bit of dry shampoo and changed into a jumpsuit but I was so excited for dinner!
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to eat at a Venetian Family’s home, share their dinner table and food. The table was set up outdoors and absolutely stunning, we started the delicious food outside but were interrupted by lightning, thunder and rain. We managed to have our antipasti outside and the most delicious pesto pasta but ran inside, plate in hand for meatballs and tiramisu. I can’t do the evening much justice but I hope you can tell from the photos and my video just how magical it was, huge thanks to ASK Italian for organising it!
Day two in Venice started again quite early for me, I think I was just excited so couldn’t sleep, I went for a little wander before breakfast as there’s something very special about getting up before all the tourists are out. It was Burano-day and I had very much been looking forward to it since I had seen it on Instagram.
We took the water bus and arrived on the beautiful island, lined with beautifully multicoloured house and we were very lucky to have the sun shining. If you’re ever in Venice then make an effort to get to Burano, it’s well worth the trip! We wandered around, took photos, ate more ice cream and had a delicious lunch at Trattoria al Gatto Nero.
And to end the trip perfectly we finished with a Gondola ride. We got to wear the gondolier’s hat and see the city from the small narrow canals and we did ask the gondoliers to sing but he told us he only sings to his wife!
Overall, an amazing trip and huge thanks to ASK Italian for having me. Since I’ve been back I’ve been dreaming of the pasta and have been into ASK Italian for a cheeky bowl or two. Find your local ASK Italian here
I really didn’t think I’d fall for Venice like I did but I’m already desperate to go back!
I love spending time with my friends and family but there isn’t usually much to do which is why my friends and I started Sunday Funday. I was going through my camera and had a few photos from a few weeks back which I thought I would share.
Mini were nice enough to lend me a car, the Mini Cooper Clubman 4X4 which lead me and my friends to come up with a few different mini road trip ideas. I must admit I’m a road trip fan (I’d love to do one across Europe!) so have been to most places which are a 2hour drive from London and although I really wanted to go to Bath I was told it was too far and we settled for Cambridge. I say settled but I do love Cambridge and since my friends hadn’t been I was excited for them to explore the city.
Since Mini lent me the car and I fell in love with it, let’s talk a little about it.
I had never really wanted a Mini, I liked them but I wasn’t sure if they were for me but boy was I wrong. From the outside, the Mini is a beautiful car, a very classic and loved car but I probably fell more in love once I got inside and drove it around. My first trip in the Mini was actually to Ashford Mc Arthur Glen Shopping centre (average Outlet stores, nice but not worth a whole blog post) and by the end of the drive, I had already called my boyfriend asking if we could trade my car in and get a Mini.
We didn’t have the standard Mini (I think it’s important to note, in case anyone is looking to buy one), we had the Cooper Clubman which is a little bit longer and is very spacious inside. Everyone that got in it this weekend commented on how comfortable and luxurious the inside was. It had burgundy leather seats, you could control the colours on the inside, build in Sat-Nav and other cool tech and drove like a dream. It had a standard, Eco and Sport Mode- I, of course, had to try all of them and they were all amazing. It’s a four wheel drive with decent size engine so it picked up speed quickly but you always felt very in control due to its size. Anyways, I don’t know too much about cars but I loved it and if I were on the market for a new car (sadly, I am not) it would be a big contender.
So we drove the Mini to Cambridge and if you haven’t been I would highly recommend it. It’s up there in my top 5 cities in England (should I do a blog post about the rest) and a great place to consider for a day trip. Although it’s quite a traditional city in terms of history and architecture, it’s also a student city meaning there are great cafes, restaurants and bars! They do however get busy and finding somewhere for breakfast was tricky, so do book a few days in advance. We then had a wander around the university and the city before going on a little Punting tour. If you’re in Cambridge I’d highly recommend the Punting, it’s not too expensive (you can haggle for a better price too), the tour guides are knowledgeable (or at least good at pretending they are) and generally quite funny. I think this might be my third Punting tour and would definitely go again.
We then had another little stroll around, grabbed a hot chocolate to keep up warm, jumped back in the Mini and headed home.
I’m hoping to do a few more road trips this year, would love some recommendation! I’m thinking somewhere up north in February!