During

Eating my way Downtown: Café de la Luz

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Last week, we made plans to head to the pool in Casa de Campo as the weather app told us it was meant to be 24 degrees with clear skies until 5pm. FAKE FUCKING NEWS MY FRIENDS. By 2.30pm even the Brits had braved as much of the cold as possible and couldn’t ignore the rain absolutely chucking it down. We accepted defeat and went in search of coffee and cake.

We ended up in Café de la Luz in, (surprise surprise), Malasaña. A smallish café with antique, super comfy furniture and a relaxed, somewhat sexy atmosphere, with low lighting and lamps. There’s an eclectic mix of random antique items and a perfectly curated, menu including coffee, cocktails, brunch and cake. It’s a cosy, chilled atmosphere. We stayed for hours after having eaten without feeling rushed to move on. I wish I’d discovered it earlier as it’s the perfect place to grab a hot drink and read on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Find them on Calle Puebla, just a 2 minute walk from Gran Vía or a 7 minute walk from Tribunal.

// La semana pasada habíamos organizado de ir a la piscina en Casa de Campo porque la app de tiempo dijo que habría sol y 24 grados. FALSAS NOTICIAS. A las 2 y media, incluso los británicos no pudieron aguantar el frío y la lluvia. Decidimos ir a un café para tomar una bebida y un trozo de tarta.

Acabamos comiendo en Café de la Luz en Malasaña. Un café pequeño con muebles antiguos y un ambiente relajado. Quedamos para horas despues de comer y no sentimos presión de irnos. La carta tiene bebidas calientes, cocteles, brunch y tartas. Ojalá lo había descubierto antes, porque es un sitio perfecto de tomar algo y leer por un domingo. Podéis encontrarlo en Calle Puebla, 2 minutos de la parada Gran Vía o 7 minutos de Tribunal.

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During

El Rastro

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I promised a happy blog post, and that is exactly what this one is.
Kind of.
There are some tragedies along the way.

On Sunday, I finally made it to El Rastro Market, Spain’s most popular market. The main street is filled with an assortment of goodies. From paintings, to silver jewellery to those mandala wall hangings that every Leeds student has in their bedroom. That’s where tragedy number one comes in. I saw a beaut wall hanging, in white and teal with elephants all over. I thought to myself, ‘if I haven’t found something better or cheaper, I’ll come back’. I went back, and surprise surprise, it was gone.

We meandered up the busy main street which was heaving with a mix of locals and tourists, stopping every so often to check out what was on offer. What I really liked about this market was the calm way in which the sellers sold to you. You’re free to have a look around and if you want help or anything they’re happy to help, but won’t hassle you about buying something. I enjoyed the freedom of just having a browse at everything without feeling pressure from a pushy seller. We came across a man with hand crafted silver jewellery, which he let us try on in peace. I found the most beautiful, simple sun ring, but he didn’t have my size. (Disaster number 2). I’m tempted to go back this Sunday to see if I can bag one.

The hustle and bustle is on the main street, (Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores), but the side streets are where the real gems are. Antique treasures and collectors items can be found off the beaten track on Plaza del General Vara de Rey. From antique globes, to film cameras to car parts, (I shit you not). There is literally something for everyone. Even the smaller, trendy shops of La Latina open their doors to allow people to have a peruse.

La Latina is a great place for independent coffee shops, but if you need something more substantial there’s Plaza de la Cebada, (which was closed when I went, I think it’s being renovated), almost directly opposite the market, and Calle de Cava Baja just a 5 minute walk away.

The market opens at 9am and the nearest metro stop is La Latina. I’m annoyed I didn’t go earlier during my time in Spain as I think you could really find some beaut treasures.

// En mi última publicación, os prometí una publicación feliz. Finalmente, aquí tenéis.

El domingo pasado, por fin, fui al Rastro de Madrid, el mercado lo más popular en España. La calle principal, tiene una mezcla de tesoros. Desde cuadros hasta joyas. Encontré un anillo que me gusté mucho, pero el vendor no tuvo mi tamaño. Me gusté la manera en que los vendedores os permite echarle un vistazo a sus bienes sin la presión de comprar algo. 

El bullicio está en la calle principal, pero los tesoros están en las calles a lado donde abren las tiendas independientes de La Latina. Hay globos terráqueo antiguo, cámaras de film, hay incluso piezas de automóviles! Hay algo para todo!

La Latina es un barrio perfecto para un café y trozo de tarta, pero si quieres algo más substancial, encontraréis Plaza de la Cebada, (que esta en el proceso de ser renovada), en frente del mercado, y Calle de Cava Baja es solo 5 minutos a pie. El mercado abre a las 9 cada Domingo y la parada más cerca es La Latina.

During · Reflection

Nothing is as it Seems

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I do genuinely hate to use Insta/Snapchat photos on here, but I feel like this one perfectly illustrates my point.

On Tuesday it was yet another puente (bank holiday) here in Madrid. It was the Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid’s patron saint. There were parades and concerts in the parks and things from May 11th-15th, but in classic me ‘I have no idea what the fuck is going on’ style , I completely missed all of that in favor of spending the day by the pool. We laid out in the sun from around midday until the clouds came and spoilt our fun at around 6. We gossiped, jumped into the frost bite inducing pool and, in all honesty,  burnt. (I burnt my stomach, I’ve never burnt before in my life!). Afterwards, Niamh and I headed to Wagas and gorged ourselves on wok friend greens and noodles before heading home in a sun and food induced coma.

I posted the photo above on my insta and had so many people pop up to me, telling how lucky I was, how jealous they were, that they wanted to swap lives. Something about that actually angered me. Obviously, I am grateful and can totally understand how sunning yourself by the pool as opposed to sitting inside writing a dissertation or revising for exams looks far more desirable. The fact is, behind this superficial Instagram photo, there’s nothing but struggle. Getting through the days is an effort. I’m turning into a person I’ve never wanted to be, in the sense that I can’t be happy for people when they’re doing amazing fun things, or when they’re happy or when something good happens to them because I myself am so painfully miserable. Of course, I am definitely guilty of doing the same thing. Seeing photos on insta and on stories and being green with envy. Seeing people over dinner and have them tell me all about how great their week has been and desperately wanting to swap lives, but if this experience has taught me anything it’s really that nothing is what it seems on the surface.

I PROMISE THE NEXT POST I DO WILL BE A HAPPY POST. I’m going home very soon for a week, to avoid actually losing that scrap of sanity I have left, before I head off on some adventures in the south of Spain. Although it feels like I’m going backwards, I have to remind myself that I’m not and focus on moving forwards.

Special

Sharing the Love

When I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, at the end of the post I put links to some of my favourite blogs to read. I remember back in the day, (lol, how old am I?), when bloggers used to have dedicated blog roll sections of their blogs which had a list of their favourite bloggers. I find that nowadays, now every man and literally their dog has a blog, there’s not as much sharing of the love as there once was.
I’m changing that with this post.
I figured I’d do a quick round up of my favourite blogs to read right now to share the love and maybe you guys, (there’s more of you reading now apparently!), will find something else you like to read.

Let’s start with Blogueros Hispanohablantes:

Collage Vintage
Sara has created a beautiful space on the internet showcasing her fashion and travel, with etherial absolutely stunning photos with an amazing smile to go with it. She writes in both Spanish and English so very inclusive. There’s also a street style section for even more style inspo.

Stella Wants to Die
The name sounds pretty macabre, but Stella is pure fashuun. I love her relaxed, comfortable but chic as fuck style. She adds in the odd ‘inspo’ post too, which is usually a collection of street style photos.

I’m kind of ashamed to say that I don’t read that many Spanish blogs. I would love to though, so if you have any recommendations please holla holla.

Moving onto lifestyle and travel blogs. These are the blogs I tend to read as I am straight up nosey, I love peeking into other peoples lives. Like any other person under the age of  25 right now, I have the wanderlust bug, so travel blogs allow me to dream and somewhat plan for when I’m not a poor student living in my overdraft. Without further a do:

The Londoner
I have been following Rosie since maybe 2011. Back then her blog was still fairly small, so I have seen the change from then to now. I would say there has been a slight lack of authenticity and I find some photos and posts a bit contrived but this doesn’t detract from her enviable lifestyle jet setting around the globe. Amazing photos are usually a companied with a narrative style of writing which makes you feel like you’ve experienced everything with her. There’s years of posts so worth a blog binge. (Does anyone else do that or it is just me?)

Kenza
Hi, umm, can we just be best friends please? I feel like Kenza is the epitome of a lifestyle blogger. Her entire life is on her blog, (since when she was just a teenager), which makes you feel like you really know her. She’s so real, open and frankly hilarious. She posts about the good, the bad and the ugly which I really appreciate seeing as most people only show the highlight reel to make themselves seem perfect. Her being so honest makes her so relatable. She posts life, fashion, travel and everything in between. She also has a youtube channel!

Bon Traveller
As the name suggests, this is a travel blog. A travel blog with itineraries, (‘Vacation Guides’), for almost every place you could think of. Something I really love about the way Jessica has created this blog is the organisation of the site. Travel posts are divided into continents and then into countries which makes planning, or day dreaming, so much easier. There are travel tips, photography tips and hotel recommendations which have a mixture of high end and budget stays.

Tourist of Life
A fairly new find, but one that I loved immediately. Yvonne, is a young blogger who has already accomplished so much. Her ‘about’ page is so inspiring but so are her travel posts, (which are again very well organised), and sublime photos. I know I cannot really comment on consistency, but I would love for her to post more regularly so I can get my Tourist of Life fix more often.

Other travel blogs I have recently started reading include:
Hippie in Heels
While I’m Young
Frankly Frankiee

Finally, a few sites which have a bit more depth. They address relevant issues and current topics:

G4RL: Girls 4 Realistic Love
Expect posts about love, sex and mental health. Subject matter includes what you would talk to your close friends about and things that you wouldn’t dare talk to your friends about too. The narrative is informative but fairly light hearted. I feel that sometimes, people try to make these topics easier to read and end up being cringe. Nikki however has perfected the way to make her posts humorous without being cringy or making the subject matter, which isn’t funny, into a joke.

Into The Fold Mag
Technically more of an e-zine than a blog, but it’s written by ordinary girls for ordinary girls. The baby of Camilla, (who writes IntoTheFold: The Blog), there’s something for everyone. From fashion, to beauty, to real life stories to interviews with influential women. I like to think of it as a community of girls just getting together and sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences. I am all the way here for it.

So there you have a very quick roundup of my current faves. If there are any blogs you abso love leave me their links in the comments! I love finding new reads. It gives me some procrastination content and escape.

During

The Last Stretch

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset(Accurate visual representation of me searching the abyss for the strength to finish this year abroad)

I’ve just retuned to Spain after a beautiful weekend in England. The weather was beautiful, spending time with my family was beautiful,  seeing my friends was beautiful. The diversity of the place I live is beautiful, (something I didn’t even realise I missed until I properly clocked it), feeling safe and in familiar surroundings was beautiful. Above all, the nando’s I had for lunch on Saturday was beyond beautiful.

I got back this evening to a rainy Madrid. Perhaps it was pathetic fallacy seeing as I didn’t stop crying the entire journey back. Even in the departure lounge, I went to the ticketing desk to ask if I could just not get on the flight and basically had a meltdown then and there. It honestly feels like my mental has just given up on me. I was trying to tell myself that I was okay, that I can do this, that I only have a few weeks left, but I think that’s the problem. It’s the fact that this is the final push, yet I feel like I’ve been pushing for an eternity and I’m exhausted. In the famous words of Ian Beale, I just feel like I have nothing left. I, right now, feel like I just do not have the strength to finish the next few weeks. This week I’m going to focus on trying to get back into a routine and keep myself busy, which shouldn’t be difficult with all my final hand-ins due on Friday.

I’m sure after a good nights sleep I’ll feel far better in the morning, but as of this present moment, I am mad struggling.

// Pasé el finde en Inglaterra con mi familia, mis amigas y el tiempo bonito. Volví esta noche, y está lloviendo en Madrid. Esto representa mis sentimientos perfectamente porque no podía parar llorando durante el viaje entero. Siento que no tengo más fortaleza para terminar las próximas semanas. Esta semana, intentaré arreglar mi rutina diaria y mantenerme ocupada. No será difícil porque tengo la fecha de limite para mis entregas el viernes.

Estoy segura que por la mañana, después de una buena noche de sueño, sentiré mejor. Sin embargo, ahora mismo, estoy luchando.

During

Teléferico Madrid

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I’m currently writing this post whilst sat in a deathly 3 hour lecture. I can’t complain though, as we’ve had the past 2 days off. Tuesday was Día del Trabajador (Labour Day) and yesterday was Día de la Comunidad de Madrid (effectively, Madrid Day). We made the most of our days off and finally experienced the Madrid cable car. 40 metres above ground, the cable car gives you a beautiful vista of Casa de Campo, the most important park in Madrid. Casa de Campo is 13 times the size of Retiro (!) and has hectares of fairly unmanicured, almost wild, forest. It’s home to the zoo and the theme park, but would be perfect for a Sunday morning run or just a long walk in the fresh air. It’s crazy to think that this all exists right in the heart of a huge concrete jungle like Madrid.
The cable car is €4.50 one way and €6 return. Find it from Plaza de España/Argüelles or Lago (literally 2 stops away from Tribunal).

After this, we headed to Malasaña, (obvs), and had dinner at my new found favourite restaurant, Las Mañanitas, right next to Tribunal metro station. I don’t say this lightly, (trust me, I understand the gravity of the words I’m about to say), but this restaurant does the best nachos I’ve ever had and a delicious mango daiquiri.
I might dedicate an entire blogpost to it. Seems like the perfect excuse to go and stuff my face with tasty Mexican food.

// Estoy escribiendo esto desde una clase terrible, pero no debería quejarme. Los dos días pasados, han sido puentes. Lunes fue Día del Trabajador y ayer fue Día de la Comunidad de Madrid. Intentamos a aprovechar del tiempo libre, y por fin fuimos al Teleférico Madrid. Con una altura máxima sobre el suelo de 40metros, se recibe una vista superfina de Casa de Campo, el parque lo más importante en Madrid. Es 13 veces más grande de Retiro y contiene el zoo y la parque de atracciones. Es un lugar perfecto para correr o caminar. Me gusta el hecho que Madrid, una ciudad con mucho concreto, tiene un parque tan bonito y silvestre como esto.
Cuesta €4.50 para una ida y €6 para una ida y vuelta. Se puede encontrarlo desde Plaza de España/Argúelles o Lago,

Después de esto, comimos en Las Mañanitas en Malasaña. Es mi restaurante favorito ahora. Los nachos y los daiquiris son INCREÍBLE. Quiero dedicar una publicación entera a este restaurante, esto me da una excusa de comer la comida mexicana!

During

The Sun is Good For Me

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(You have to read the title like that little boy from that wife swap episode)

This photo was taken yesterday in Toledo. We did the Fly Toledo Zip Line which was SO FUN. I haven’t zip lined since I developed my fear of heights, but it was honestly so great. It’s €10 for one jump, but if you’re a student you get 2 jumps for the price of one! I was going to do an ‘Exploring: Toledo’ post, but I actually just wanted to write a quick update post instead. The photo is a good representation of how I’ve been feeling recently.

I can’t lie, the past 2 or so weeks have been glorious. The weather has been BEAUTIFUL in Spain which I honestly believe has massively contributed to me being in a super positive and motivated mood. I write a to-do list every morning and by bedtime most things, (ie anything that’s not uni work lol), is crossed off. Each day, I’ll take myself to the park with a blanket to sit on and read in the sun. I always try and go when people are walking their doggos because, I’ve decided, dogs are just good for your mental health. Obviously I’ve had a few downs, I experienced sleep paralysis a few weeks back and last night I think I had a slight panic/anxiety attack. I feel it’s been brought on from reading about the Wolf Pack Case. It’s incredible to see thousands of people protesting about it. Had I known about the protests I would have definitely showed my support 1mil%.
We have bank holidays here on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I have a 5 day weekend. A few of my friends have gone away for a beach break, so I’m gonna take this time to try and finish my final assignments, which are all due in 2 weeks. It’s crazy to think that my year abroad is coming to an end. I can’t decide whether I want to do a final thoughts post about my time here, just because this year has been the most difficult year of my life. At the same time however, I feel like I have learnt a lot.

If there’s one thing this year has taught me I can do, it’s anything.