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?