Saturday, 24 October 2015

Inspiration | November Vibes

Autumn winter is in full swing right now - seasonally - here in Barcelona, it's still pretty warm for this little Brit. However I have been turning my mind to some new autumn winter trends. 

When it comes to buying new clothes, it's really important to pick what you actually like rather than following trends blindly. Now that I have to worry about rent, bills and food the days where my money could be spent frivolously on new clothes are sadly very much over. I don't jump on new trends immediately, instead I mull them over, have a little think about which particular styles I want to incorporate into my personal style and supplement them with bits offbeat accessories. 

For November, I'm definitely looking to try the 70s maxi dress trend, for me I think it'll have to be a super flowy maxi dress or something more on the midi side, however I do love a good winter floral or dark ditsy paisley print. I plan to pair them with some ankle boots and a leather jacket - two of my absolute staple wardrobe pieces - to make the look more me. I personally think that's the key to trying new looks - infusing them with your anchor pieces. 

I'm also really loving these detailed blouses that have been cropping up lately. I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to stay true to the 70s trend and go for a pussybow blouse or switch it up and go for victoriana or something else. I'm leaning away from victoriana however because my neck is already short enough and they have a tendency to engulf most necks.  

Of course I had to feature some wide leg trousers! The search for the perfect pair has been long and hard (and ongoing) I think I may have stumbled upon the perfect pair in good old Zara, it's just a matter of trying them on now. 

I recently went to this cool EDM festival in Barcelona, where they had a littel "market place" of local independent retailers, one of whom was selling leather body harnesses. I've always really liked the look of them as they're a cool unexpected detail and an easy way to make a simple top and jeans combo look edgy.  I think something simple provides enough of a statement without looking like you're going to a BDSM party - unless that is where you're going in which case carry on. 

My accessory game has been pretty weak for a long long time now, so I want to inject a little flavour with some statement necklaces. Again these are great for days when, putting together a bitching outfit is just not an option, but jeans and a tee just feels so blah. 

What on your style radar for November? 

Martha xo 

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Friday, 25 September 2015

Travel | BarcaDAHHLING - First impressions

I've been putting off this post for a while, because I wasn't really sure how I was going to do it. I wasn't sure if I was going to do a video or just a simple post. I decided that a post interspersed with video and picture is the best option. Purely because I'm not sure I'll have the time to shoot and edit a video by the end of the day - but I'm rambling.

Barcelona is beautiful! It's a gorgeous city, the people are lovely (a bit stare-y but we'll get onto that later) the weather is beautiful and there is always something going on here. Let me start at the beginning and recount my story - this will be a long post.

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday the 9th September I boarded a ridiculously early Ryanair flight to embark on my Barcelona adventure. I hadn't slept with excitement and anticipation - I mean I was really doing this. In the spirit of throwing myself into the adventure I spotted a guy who looked like a student about to board my flight and decided to strike up a conversation - first friend made!

I had booked an airport transfer, to make my arrival in Barcelona nice and easy and was greeted by my taxi driver holding a "Sra. Ngatchu" sign. Initially I was taken aback by the fact that he greeted me in Spanish - I'd specifically booked an English speaking driver. However, upon passing what looked like the most lively place ever I had to find out what the area was called. As soon as he heard that I could speak some Spanish he was really friendly and really welcoming.

I then checked into my accommodation which is a single room with a shared kitchen. I was soon introduced to my neighbour and kitchen buddy who is a lovely Spanish girl, being mildly overwhelmed, I didn't try to put my Spanish to the test.  But we talked a little and she even made me lunch! I was loving Barcelona's friendly vibe already!

Once I had unpacked and eaten, I decided to head back to that lively place I'd passed in the taxi - which turned out to be Plaça Catalunya and Passieg de Gracia the absolute heart of town (right next to La Rambla) - to look for some hangers. I walked around for four hours before biting the bullet and buying some expensive hangers and house bits from el Corte Ingles. I returned to my accommodation, exhausted, ate my dinner and went to bed.

THURSDAY: On the next day, it was time to get down to business! I ventured out to open a bank account and get a SIM card. This was all done in Spanish - I was ready to get stuck in! That took the majority of my day as it was a lot of back and forth as my whole plans were interrupted by both siesta hours and a torrential downpour.

I finally got my SIM Card only to discover my phone wasn't unlocked! That evening, one of my friends from uni happened to be in Barcelona for some dissertation research so we went for Tapas and drinks.  In fact my whole first weekend in Barcelona was filled with Cava (which is ridiculously cheap here) and Tapas.

TUESDAY: My first day of uni here was overwhelming. There was so much information thrown at us and so many new faces to take in. Luckily 2 other girls from my course are doing an exchange in Barcelona so we agreed to sit together so no one felt like a complete loner on day one. After pulling up my big girl pants I actually made some really great friends on my first day and got talking to lots of interesting people. Fresher's week events also started that day, the first being SpeedFriend which was essentially speed dating but with friends instead of dates. It was a hot and sweaty but fun nonetheless and again made some nice new friends.

WEDNESDAY: The big one! This was the big blow out freshers event. The evening started out with an international dinner in which everyone had to bring a typical dish or drink from their country - I brought Gin and Tonic. The erasmus events organisers brought Tapas and Sangria and believe me the Sangria was flowing freely. By the time we all left the international dinner, it's safe to say everyone was more than merry. We then headed to Razzmatazz, Barcelona's big Wednesday night - it's not a super touristy spot so if you want something a bit more authentic head there. After Razzmatazz -which finished at 5am, in true European style, we headed to a friend's flat to continue our party. Eventually, it was time to go home and a friend and I began to make our way home at 7:30 AM. Rocking heels and a mini skirt, whilst everyone is getting ready to go to work is not ideal.

SUNDAY: After a week of clubbing, I finally ventured out during more sociable hours and went to see one of Barcelona's many La Mercé events. La Merccé is a 6 day long festival that celebrates Barcelona's patron saint and there are loads of events on each day.  This one was the correfoc, where people dressed as devils or Diablos parade the streets whilst playing with fireworks. The really adventurous can even run with them. I opted to just watch from a distance. It was a really cool event and so many people get involved.

MONDAY: The first day of lectures. I had one, two hour long lecture after which I went on a Gaudi tour. I was fortunate enough to go to La Sangrada Familia. I'd always thought this place was just super hyped up and actually is just going to be another church with stained glass windows. I was extremely extremely wrong. The outside is pretty cool, the attention to detail and the symbolism of every little construction is incredible. Then when you go inside, breathtaking. It gives me shivers just thinking about it, it's just spectacular. My favourite aspect is the roof and the red stained glass window casting a warm glow in the evening sun. La Sangrada Familia is one of those places that you honestly cannot describe and that cannot be appreciated through pictures - you have to see it for yourself.

I'm genuinely so happy I decided to do a year abroad in Barcelona. It wasn't an easy decision to make as it meant leaving my comfort zone. I was really anxious before I left that I wouldn't make any friends, that I'd miss out on things back at home and that I just wouldn't settle. Thankfully all my fears have, so far, not materialised. It can be a bit of a culture shock. It seems people here are fascinated by black girls which often brings some uncomfortable stares or being referred to as "morena" which is used as a term of endearment and translates to dark girl. Another thing that I've had to get used to is siesta as most of the smaller shops are closed between 2pm and 4pm, on the bright side I can go shopping until 9 or 10pm almost every day! 

Martha xo

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