Monday 28 October 2013

Easy like Sunday mañana

Bottoms up, bottoms up

Like a bunch of cool cosmopolitan capitals, Sunday is the day to get a true flavour of the city's spirit. I took full advantage of Europe's bonus hour (in case you're late to the party: the CLOCKS WENT BACK!) and hopped out early to the mother of all Madrid mercados, El Rastro. You only need to shuffle out of La Latina metro station to be hit hard by the wave of buzzy, spirited Sunday souls wheeling and dealing their little culos [asses] off. 

Definitely not for the claustrophobic, El Rastro is redolent of muy high waters with its forceful current of bargain hunting bodies. I, of course, found myself moving against the turbulent tide of market goers, which proved a bit...awkward. Still, what's a flea market without a spot of shoving and paranoid possession protecting? Not a proper flea market, that's what. 

Totally legit.
A taste of home amid Madrilenian madness; surreal. 
Catching my sunglass-wearin' reflection in the myriad medley of gafas de sol [sunglasses], I couldn't help but smile a little as I was reminded of the classic opening sequence of Labyrinth of Passion (yet another act of Almodóvar brilliance), a film that totally encapsulates the crazy, labyrinthine nature of Madrid's animated bartering hotspot. In case I've lost ya - TADA! - this is the very shot:

It's kinda tricky to mooch methodically through the tangled web of stalls, but to me there's something quite mesmerising, almost hypnotising about this renowned retail jungle. And I had no problems in coming away with a very satisfying haul of low-cost and lovely trinkets. 

Maybe it was the 1€ paella, or perhaps the extremely lush weather (I lost count of how many times I heard squeals of "¡qué calor!"), but everyone seemed to be on another level of chilled contentment. It was super infectious. So as I was serenely floating around the surrounding calles [streets], absorbing the zen-like vibes pervading the plazas, I found some a-ma-zing antique, "junk" (emphasis on the inverted commas), and furniture shops. I was more than happs to locate LA Studio on Calle Arganzuela, home to some of the most unique, chic and beautifully designed furniture I've EVER SEEN. I left reallyreallyreally wanting my own little studio apartment to kit out (and lots of monies to permit me to do so, obviously). 

The rice, sorry, price is so right. 

Further gems to be unearthed in the Calle Arganzuela ends included heaps of character-filled cocktail and cerveza spots, almost intimidatingly crowded with merrymaking madrileños and extranjeros [foreigners] alike. And in my subtle (not so subtle) attempts to people watch through dark shades, I clocked some pretty cool street style too. 
Yeah, I see you

Saturday 26 October 2013

Monday 21 October 2013

The "good" in goodbye

Sniff sniff.
Pardon the pretty personal post (and excessive alliteration, it seems), but today is kind of a big deal for my Mama's side of the family; me Geordie half like. Nanna Maureen's house, the spot synonymous with my time spent on Geordie shores during my two and a bit decades has, after over 43 years, been sold. And today is moving day. OHMYGAAAD. I totally realise that to outsiders this must seem incredibly inconsequential and slightly sentimental, but to us guys it's an emotionally equivocal and, put simply, weird day. So I can't not post about it.

Landing life, 1993.
Cozens cousins love started here.
+ 11 years -->

Me, Emily, +  the "little house" (shed) I got when I turned two.
In the run up to this (much anticipated) point, I've been figuratively describing Nanna as "the Alton Towers of emotional rollercoasters" (hey Maureen), but I'd be pullin' a Pinocchio to say that I wasn't myself feeling a-little-bit-a-lot raro today. Ya see, this house is just - special. Yeah, it's aesthetically lovely, has an amazing garden etc., but it goes waaay deeper than that. The house has memories virtually oozing from the floorboards, practically seeping out of the ceilings. Siblet and I have always lived in London and been SE kids, but always - ALWAYS - woken up on Christmas morning in this house. And so has my Ma; since she was seven. It's little things like that. Christmas 2013, for instance, will be unprecedented.

Over four decades of accumulated clutter, photos, documents, books, clothes (HOW many scarves have you bought over the years Maureen?!), records, accessories, baggage (literal and emotional) have been bagged, skipped, chucked, gifted and charity-shopped. No mean feat, I tell ya. So today is one of those days when I *wish* teleportation was a thing. Because being nearly 1000 miles away in Spain while my entire fam are involved in this very tangible transition feels, well, a bit wrong. 

Nanna, me, + her soon-to-be new "garden", ca. 1996.
Despite this cathartic little mourn, though, it really ain't all bad; it's time! Nanna's still a super sprightly seventy (she started young), but the house really is much too big for one person. And it'll only get harder to leave. Excuse me for comin' over all spiritual, but I truly believe that there's something good in every day, and today that good comes in the form of a goodbye. Because, as hard as it is (and will be) while the idea materialises, change is ultimately a very, very good thing. It enables growth, reflection, and the ability to move on to fresh and above all exciting things. Plus to every goodbye there's always a hello. In Nanna's case, a shiny new house sat right on the beach. 

Let's go to the beach, each

Thursday 17 October 2013

This week I'm lovin'


Admittedly I wasn't exactly filled with 'wonder' at the prospect of drinking from a can labelled "sparkling fermented tea". But I am partial to an Asian pear and I'll try anything once (especially if it has nice packaging). Turns out this bubbly bev from Kombucha is more than palatable, and very refreshing indeed. So! Don't let labels deter ya (this applies to life in general, too). 

Sunday 13 October 2013

District dawdlin'

Yesterday was one of those gleefully gratifying days when I really, really couldn't have been much more c o n t e n t. I took advantage of my sábado [Saturday] off with a real rigorous root around Madrid's Malasaña district, the capital's vibrant and buzzy cultural core. Since emerging as the hub of post-Franco Spain's effervescent, freewheeling art scene in the late 70s/early 80s, known as La Movida Madrileña (spearheaded by Pedro Almodóvar, Alaska and Ouka Leele to name a tiny few), this bustling barrio continues to be the stomping ground of avant-garde kinda cats with creative cravings and liberal leanings. A dazzlin' display of vintage boutiques, caffeine dens (I've now been well and truly courted by my go-to casa de cafés), music stores and street style. Not to mention a healthy bit of grit.

The high-spirited heart of the neighbourhood is definitely to be found in the Plaza del Dos de Mayo, where I merrily chanced upon  Dosde Market, Malasaña's independent design mercado (below).

Call me super sad if you will, but, post-wander, sat in my beloved Toma Café with good coffee(s), good beats and a good read, I was just so happy

Oh, stop it you...


Ahh I love this city. LOVE IT.

* my fresh finds'll be up on my guide-to-be!