Thursday, 29 December 2011

Barceloneta Correfoc, Barcelona...

Last night we popped out to watch a Correfoc being hosted by Els Diables de la Barceloneta. We could have just watched from our balcony as it finishes right in front of our building, but it's much more fun to get up close to dodge the sparks and flaming football flying towards you, not to mention dancing in front of the mini burning man. There's an ambulance parked up in attendance just in case, although I've never seen anyone get burned (although I'm sure it does happen).

Burning Man really getting going...


Relighting the football...

Standing back a bit for safety after the ball escaped one too many times...

It was cold last night which meant the crowd was small, but great fun nonetheless. I think this event is a pretty new tradition in Barceloneta but it's a good way to break up the tedious days between Christmas and New Year. I'm working this NYE so the next big event for me will be the Three Kings parade, I'll let you know all about that soon.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Exhibition, Barcelona...

If you're in Barcelona before the fifteenth of January 2012, I highly recommend that you go to Caixa Forum to see the free exhibition of the costumes of the Ballets Russes. The costumes are on loan from the V & A, and wonderfully well preserved. As well as costumes there are old posters and other memorabilia, and some really effective video installations. I'd say anyone who is interested in history, costume or dance will enjoy this exhibition a lot. 

The company toured extensively in the early twentieth century, including appearances in Barcelona. Pablo Picasso designed their ballet 'Parade', making them the first company to have sets and costumes inspired by cubism. They were a truly innovative company led by the enigmatic Sergei Diaghilev, and shocked the world with their bold sets, costumes, music and choreography. I won't bang on too much about them as you can find out more all over the internet or at your local library.

The Caixa Forum is well worth a visit itself for the architecture and history, and exhibitions are usually free, so even better. 

I managed to get some pictures but they don't do the fabulous costumes justice, make sure you get to the exhibition if you can. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Vintage Me, Barcelona...

Thursday night saw us venture out in the rain and wind to check out an event that was being held by Vintage Me at Jaleo Bar in Raval. Jaleo is right next to MACBA so it's a great spot for people watching, defintely worth a visit if you're looking for a drink in the Raval barrio.

Vintage Me, a vintage clothes company based here in Barcelona, were using the bar to have a sort of mini market/sale, and seeing as our mate Gigi D'Amico was also spinning a few tunes we decided to pop down for some beers and shopping. By the way, how fab is Gigi's hat

Unfortunately my photos are not brilliant as the lighting in the bar was a bit dark. It's a shame as there were a few items that really caught my eye and it would have been good to give you all a proper look at them. Luckily, Vintage Me have a great website so you can see some of them there.They currently have a sale on too, even better.

I never like to buy things without trying them on, and the bar wasn't really set up for that, but I did manage to pick up two scarves which I'll probably wear turban style. Look at the print on this one, it's a piano playing octopus...

We ended the night by popping over to another Raval bar, Marmalade. They have a beautiful art deco bar which you can see behind my head in the photo below. It gives the bar a kind of speakeasy vibe which is helped by the velvet curtains in the doorways, copper plated walls and the ornate billiard table. I'd recommend this bar if you're on a date as it has a cosy intimate atmosphere even though it's actually quite a big bar for Barcelona.

I'm on the hunt for a handbag big enough to bring to work. I love vintage shopping, but all I'm seeing everywhere is tiny bags and clutches. I may have to resort to ebay, even though it's annoying me at the moment. If anyone in Barcelona is reading this and they've seen any good second hand large handbags anywhere, let me know.

There is another market on tomorrow which I'm going to try to get to before work. If I do manage to get there, I'll tell you all about it in my next post.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Brass and Copper, Barcelona

Hola todos. I'm off to a second hand market in a bar very soon (photos to follow) but I just wanted to quickly  share a recent find with you.

A couple of weeks ago I paid a flying visit to a craft fair. I didn't blog about it because I literally only had half an hour there before having to go to work, so no time to take photos or really shop.

One stall I did visit and grab a card from was Brass and Copper, jewellery designers who are inspired by Victorian and vintage styles and make the prettiest gee gaws I've seen for a while. These earrings in particular are on the wish list.

I can't figure out from the site if they deliver overseas, but I'm sure if there's anything you love then they can arrange something for all you non peninsula dwellers.

I'll be back tomorrow with a longer post and some photos from tonight. See you all then.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Arancino, Sicilian food in Barcelona...

If you're heading down to the beach to catch the sun before autumn really takes hold, make sure you pop into Arancino on Passeig Joan de Borbó, to try their very tasty food. 

We've been meaning to check it out for ages but we were trying to behave ourselves on the 'eating out' front (way too easy to spend a lot of money doing that in Barcelona). We finally succumbed to the temptation on Monday night.

The basic idea is to bring a taste of authentic and inexpensive Sicilian food to Barcelona. It's not a restaurant, more of a take away, but that's ideal if you want to have a chilled day on the beach without spending too much, or if you're lucky enough to live just around the corner, like us.

The main item on the menu is the arancino. I've sadly never been to Sicily so I've never had one of these before, but I think they may be my new addiction. The website describes them as a 'fried rice ball with a diameter of 8-10 cm, filled with meat sauce, mozzarella, peas and varied ingredients'. That doesn't really tell you how delicious they are, but oh my lord, they really are. Crunchy on the outside and melt in the mouth gooey goodness inside. The ragu is very tasty, a real tomato taste, not at all synthetic. So filling too, don't make the mistake we did of ordering 3 of these between the two of us, one each would have been more than enough. (Our eyes are always bigger than our bellies, which is saying a lot).

They have a great deal on at the moment too, which gives you an arancino, cold drink or granita, dessert (try the cannolo) and coffee or chupito for 6.90 euros, very good value indeed. I think this is a summer offer so get down quickly to grab it.

I'm going to have to limit my intake of the arancinos, as they're probably very calorific (is that actually a real word, by the way?), but I know I'll be back for more. They're too good to resist for ever.

By the way, all the photos above are from Arancino's website as we were starving and couldn't wait to get stuck in, I couldn't be bothered to mess around with the camera. I will take some myself next time (maybe).

Thursday, 29 September 2011

La Mercè Barcelona - part two...

Last Friday was the second night of La Mercè festivities for us, and it really was difficult to choose where to go as there was so much happening all over the city. Before I let you know what we did, check out the video I found on You Tube showing the projections that we saw on Thursday night.

We started on Friday by heading to the beach for a fireworks show. Fireworks are really popular here and are a part of every single celebration as far as we can tell. I love them, though I know some people find it difficult to get used to when they first come here. 

We then carried on by going back to Cuitadella Park to see Swan Lake performed  on the lake and in front of the massive cascade at the top of the park. It was really well done, starting off at the cascade then, by the use of a big illuminated arrow carried by one of the dancers, we followed on to the lake for act 2. Then, finally, back to the cascade for the last act. There was something so magical about this, the video should give you some idea although it can't capture the atmosphere. The park is lovely at night anyway and I think we all felt transported by the music and lights. 

After that it was a quick dash over to the Plaça del Rei to catch the end of the Villagers live. We made this just in time to hear his last few songs and again, the atmosphere here was amazing, with the ancient medieval buildings spotlighted to great effect. It was busy here but the crowd was friendly and it was great to see that there was a bar and toilets. I have to take my hat off to the organisers of La Mercè and everyone who must have worked really hard for it, as there really was something for everyone and spacing it out all over the city meant that there were no bottlenecks in the crowds and the atmosphere stayed friendly. It's also great to have the chance to see bands for free in a square full of old buildings, which in many other places would probably be fenced off and only admissible by paying some extortionate entry fee. 

Sadly I was working Saturday and Sunday night so this was the end of the party for me, although His Nibs went on to enjoy a few more events. He finished off on Sunday by joining in and getting his shirt burnt at the Correfoc on Via Laietana on Sunday night. I think alcohol may have played a part in that decision...

Friday, 23 September 2011

La Mercè Festa, Barcelona

Last night saw the kick-off of the La Mercè Festa which takes place in September every year. You can also read all about the origins and meaning of it here.

We decided to take it easy last night and just went to see the projections on the City Hall in Pl. de Sant Jaume, which were amazing, alternating between making the City Hall look like a huge Arcade Game and a shifting part of a dream, almost like something from the film ‘Inception’. I tried to take pictures but they didn’t come out too well as the images were moving so quickly.

Then we popped along to Cuitadella Park to see the Antigua & Barbuda funfair, a kooky installation of manually operated fairground rides and attractions which was surreal fun.

Tonight we’re going to check out the circus at Montjuic, the bands at the Bam Festival (especially Villagers who I love) and dancers from St. Petersburg (who are the city guests this year) performing an hour long version of  Swan Lake in front of the lake in Cuitadella Park. That should be enough excitement for one night…

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Glamourum, Barcelona Beauty Boxes...

There's something so exciting about receiving a parcel in the post. I love it even more when I don't know what's in it. That's one of the things I've been enjoying about getting my monthly beauty box from Glamourum. I know that there are quite a few companies offering this service now, with mixed results, but so far I've been very happy with this Barcelona company's offerings.

For those of you who haven't encountered the idea before, it's basically a package that you subscribe to monthly, containing a mixture of sample and full size products and usually money off vouchers too. Prices vary but I pay 10 euros a month for mine. I like the idea of trying products I haven't used before and so far the quality has been good, in fact each month has been slightly better than the last, so I think I'll carry on.

Here's a quick run down of what arrived in today's parcel. I haven't tried any of these before so I'm looking forward to a bit of experimentation. 

First up is a sample of  Luxury Diamond Caviar Concentrate from Ainhoa, a Barcelona based company. I'm quite impressed with the fact that caviar is first on the ingredients list, though whether it's good for my skin or not remains to be seen. Diamond dust is not quite so high on the list of ingredients, but again, no idea what that does either. We'll see. 

The second product (full size) is also from Ainhoa and is their Precision Expression Lines Diminisher. I'll be giving that a good go around my crows' feet, here's hoping it sorts them out, even if only temporarily. (I'll just keep bashing more of it on).

Next is a sample of a face mask from Apivita, a Greek company. I'm excited about this as the brand has been on my list to try, as I'm always interested in natural cosmetics brands and I've heard good things about this one.

A full size pack of facial wipes from Comodynes. We all know what these do by now, so not much more I can say about these, although I will say that I'm glad that the brand is another Barcelona one. I'm all about buying local.

The rather witchy looking black velvet pouch contains small vials of a post depilatory soothing oil and a slightly larger vial of a regenerating (ooh, very Doctor Who) body oil from Alqvimia. These smell amazing, and are 100% natural, in fact, according to the website they were the first natural beauty / aromatherapy company in Spain. I'm looking forward to trying these. There's also a 10% off voucher for their e-shop so if I get on well with these that could be handy.

Now I'll admit, the last product in the box is not one I'd have picked for myself. It's a Playboy perfume from fragrance giants Coty. It's not unpleasant, with fruity and floral top notes and a sweet vanilla base, but it's too sweet for my personal taste. A good one for teenage girls perhaps, although I could go into a bit of a rant here about how much I dislike the Playboy products and the general tackiness of the brand. The plastic rabbit ears on the bottle lid of this perfume are not at all pleasing to my eyes, let's leave it there...

Overall though, I'm very happy with the box this month and the general quality of the brands. As well as the samples there are three full size products which would have cost quite a bit more than 10 euros if I'd bought them separately, so it's quite good value, I think. Do any of you subscribe to this kind of package and if so, what do you think so far?