Tuesday 30 April 2013

yorkshire lass

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Hello from northernest North Yorkshire, on the internet connection from hell!
After my Grannie died 3 years ago, I didn't think I'd get to visit Whitby, Yorkshire, much more, but somehow my dad's hometown has remained a family hub of sorts in the UK, and this year all of us (my parents, two sisters and I) headed over for the first proper family vacation in a while.

I got my mom to bring me some summer clothes to tide over the next few months, and promptly had to try them all on again. Wearing this dress brought me lots of comments from my mom about it's summery-ness and supposedly inappropriate length... making me feel like a total teenager again. But really, I just can't wait to ditch the tights!

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Photos by Shona

Thursday 25 April 2013

return to cadaqués

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Back in 2008, I took a trip to Cadaqués, an idyllic Mediterranean town on the Costa Brava. I posted about it in retrospect some years later, here. Last week, my sisters were (both!) visiting Barcelona for the first time ever, and we went back, so wander the gravelly beach, feel the sun reflected back upon us from the whitewashed buildings, and visit Dalí's crazy/delightful house in neighboring Portlligat. Having been reading Josep Pla's lyrical history of Cadaqués, I looked upon it with different eyes, knowing about the centuries of struggle behind the idyllic exterior, the winds that drive people mad, the fishing treaties, the origin of the funny accents, the piracy!

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Wednesday 24 April 2013

cover girl

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Today was El dia de Sant Jordi (St. George's day, the day of books and roses) in Catalonia. It's a special day for lovers, and even more so for lovers who also love literature. Here's me celebrating in Barcelona two years ago, and in Bonn last year.

Anyway, this year was a bit different. I'm actually in England with my family at the moment, but on Friday I was simultaneously here and all over Catalonia, promoting the day. I was the co-cover star of Què Fem, the Friday supplement to La Vanguadia (ahem, big deal) ;) with my friend Rosa, as the friendly faces of bookworms everywhere.

I also appeared inside the story itself (which I haven't had a chance to read yet, I hope my friends have saved me copies), along with my writers group, a group for reading and critiquing writing efforts of members which is basically my main and favourite extracurricular activity in Barcelona.

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*both photos by the talented Flaminia Pelazzi, although the top photo is just a quick shot done with Rosa's phone to send me, and not a proper scan.
** article by Anna Tomàs.

Friday 19 April 2013

comfort food and friends (and comfort absinthe)

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I've been going out like a maniac the last month or so. Dinner, lunch, coffee, vermut, debauched nights at the absinthe bar, coffee again in the morning... you name it, I was there. Mostly I just wanted to surround myself with people as much as possible. I totally burnt myself out (so much so that, arriving in the U.K. for a family holiday two days ago, I pronounced I had no intention of leaving the house at all and stayed all day on the sofa reading and eating cheese).

Since I'm also one of those people who refuses to eat breakfast until I've photographed it, ignoring that everyone around me is rolling their eyes, you get some of the food-centred highlights of the month fashion blogging forgot for me. :)

I made a Canadian pancake brunch for friends, and we ate them while drinking sparkling wine
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A dinner at home with Amandine and Aga, to which Aga brought the most mouth-watering carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing.
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Spring time is calçots season in Catalonia (calçots are large sweet onions, barbequed and eaten with Romesco sauce. Accordingly, some friends and I drove to a barbeque area outside of Barcelona, where we nearly died from smoke inhalation, and comically failed at making a fire. Finally two of us decided the only solution was to make friends with the locals, so we did, and they built the fire for us, and taught us how to cook the calçots properly, and it was amazing (though I smelt like smoke and onions for a long while afterwards)...
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Luckily one of our number was more accomplished at how to eat the calçots, which can definitely be messy.
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Despite smelling like an arsonist, I headed out to Barcelona's famous old Absinthe bar that night, as it was/is being threatened with closure. It's currently staying open semi-illegally I believe. It's a grand old institution where I lost a reasonable portion of my youth and beauty, so it was definitely worth turning out!
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blurry but realistic...

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And quieter afternoons, having coffee and cake with Aga after work (another one soon I hope).
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P.S. I promise I'll be back to posting regularly. Have had emotional chaos, job-leaving, flat-changing, and sister-visiting all in short order, and currently am sharing one internet-enabled computer between five people but I should be up and rolling again by the weekend.

P.P.S. Despite this post rhapsodizing on food, I currently never want to eat again. I'm in the U.K. and have eaten about a pound each of cheddar, brie and wensleydale since I arrived...

Thursday 11 April 2013

eternal winter

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It feels weird posting these on a day when it was probably 23 degrees and glorious, but a couple of weeks ago, when I went to Bristol for an exceptionally difficult weekend, it was completely baltic. This March was the coldest on record or something in the UK, no? Luckily, this coat by Family Affairs, a Christmas present that had been lost in the post, (the designer had to send me another one, the Spanish post is absolutely awful and I'm convinced the first one got stolen by somebody in the handling chain), arrived two days before I went, and made the -2 degree weather slightly more bearable.

On a strange, mournful Sunday afternoon, Albert and I drove across the bridge from Bristol to Wales, to walk around a blustery castle, pose by a lovely 19th century iron bridge, and then warm up with cider at the local pub.

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Thursday 4 April 2013


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I've been accumulating photos and experiences like nobody's business recently, but have had literally NO time to blog them. So quickly, here's some more snaps from Lisbon. As I said before, my main impressions of the place were picturesque trams, crumbling but stunning tile work, and custard tarts to die for. Oh, and fish, fish, fish. I haven't eaten so well or so cheaply anywhere in recent memory. I also remembered that I love Portuguese (such a sexy sounding language). We stayed in a hostel in relatively working-class area of town, where glasses of wine could be had at 10am for 60 cents each and where late-night rambles led to tiny African bars, or hole-in-the-wall beer joints where the male clientele were singing along to Adele. We ate cod in all forms, eels and octopus and drank so much wine. There were monuments too, but frankly, when on holiday, I just like wandering the streets eating and drinking and snickering as optimistic locals try to pick up blonde American tourists who are SO much smarter than them.

Anyway, I'm late! Hopefully post again soon!

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Riding the tram

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best fish of my life!

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graffiti of Portuguese poet Pessoa

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mmmm, eating a pastel de nata late at night to soak up some of that wine...

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