The life of a fashion, music and food fanatic on her Year Abroad in Madrid.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Dónde Está El Sol?!

Taken by Giselle Helene Elizabeth Boxer and Charlie Nikolai Gallienne-Schmidt

Madrid is such a beautiful city, but even more so when the sun is shining, and we haven't had much of that recently. So when I return to Spain on Wednesday, I will be praying for better weather. Here are a few photos taken by myself and Charlie in September and October when the weather was glorious!

Zoo Aquarium de Madrid

I absolutely LOVE animals. They are just so fascinating don't cha think!? Back in October Charlie, Greg and I decided to go to Madrid Zoo and Aquarium. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! 

Only a short metro ride away from the centre of Madrid, the Zoo is situated in Casa del Campo, a gorgeous forestal area. The Zoo itself is huge, hosting over 2000 animals. 


1) Baby Orangutan that travelled around on its mother's head.
2) The Capuchin monkey that nodded at me when I waved at it. 
3) The Tapir who was just chilling out with a magpie sat on its back. 
4) The hyperactive Monkey that slid down a rope on its belly. 
5) The baby Gorilla. 
... Can you tell I like Monkeys?! 

Overall, the highlight of our trip was the Dolphin Show, which was just magical! We also went to see a Bird of Prey show, which resulted in a rather hilarious incident. The birds are trained to fly from one side of the arena to the other, and it wasn't until after the Vulture's moment of fame that Greg realised he was sat in a rather precarious position. As the Vulture soared through the sky, on its descent it decided to slap Greg right round the face with its massive wing, which resulted in a huge fit of giggles from all three of us. 

Madrid Zoo and Aquarium is definitely worth a visit, especially when the weather gets a wee bit better. We are planning on going back in May to spend a whole day relaxing in the sun, with a nice picnic, checking out the animals and hopefully this time, none of us will get whacked round the face by a Bird of Prey! 

Oh, and the little cutie in the picture above is the new Bebé Elefante at the Zoo, just in case you need another excuse to visit...

Taken by Giselle Helene Elizabeth Boxer

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Recent Vintage Purchases

Red and grey baseball jacket

Denim dungarees
La Mona Checa

Army print t-shirt

Black Vintage Levi shorts customised with a gold studded cross
The The Storage

Denim Levi shorts
The The Storage

Space Jam t-shirt

I am currently working on a post about Vintage Clothing in Madrid, but for now I'd like to share some items that I've bought in my favourite shops recently. 

I am loving the 90's Teen Spirit trend at the moment, and i've been wearing a lot of denim, oversized T-shirts, sports jackets, retro trainers, and plaid shirts. 

Living The Dream

A pretty edgy collection of photos taken in the last few months in Madrid. 

Taken by Sarah Rebecca Wilkie 

Friday, 22 March 2013


I've been meaning to go to Dionisos for a long time now, as it is located just round the corner from my flat, in Chueca. On the last night of my second semester in Madrid, we wanted to go for a nice meal, and picked this lovely little Greek Taberna. 

The restaurant is extremely inviting, with simple Mediterranean decor and a friendly ambience. 

The prices were surprisingly very reasonable, so we cheekily decided to go for a starter, main, dessert and a glass of white wine! We shared a platter of Greek Tapas which included Hummus, Taramasalata (eeeewww fish roe), Tzatziki, Falafel, Dolmades, Feta cheese and Pita. - YUM! The only criticism I have is that they don't serve Haloumi, something which I have been craving for since I left home! Next we ordered a few mains to share including Greek Style Chicken, Rocket Salad with sun-dried tomatoes and grilled Greek cheese, and Pastry stuffed with chicken, cheese and vegetables. The portions were huge and the food was fantastic. The dessert was an Orange Carpaccio with vanilla ice-cream and cinnamon, which was disappointingly just sliced up oranges arranged nicely on a plate, sprinkled with cinnamon. However, at the end of the meal we were given a free shot of desert wine, which I supped pretty quickly. 

All in all I loved my experience at Dionisos Greek Restaurant and would recommend it to anyone looking for authentic Greek cuisine in the centre of Madrid. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Why don't you have a go at guessing where Taboó is…?! Of course it's in my favourite neighbourhood of Malasaña!

With everything from reggae to hard-core punk and a whole lot of house music in between, Taboó likes to keep its options open. The music is a fusion of many different genres, but everything that you hear in Taboó will immediately get you dancing.  I have lost count of the amount of times that we have been to Taboó on either a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening, and I will continue going most weekends until I leave Madrid in June.

Despite it being very small, at around 4am the atmosphere in this little joint could easily rival the atmosphere of a much bigger club. The mood is always electric and everyone is there for the same reason: to lose their inhibitions and to appreciate incredible music. 

From 11pm there is usually a live band, showcasing the best in Samba, Reggaeton, Punk or Funky beats. Then from 1am until 6:30am, Taboó handpicks the best House, Deep House, Techno and Electro DJ's from Madrid. Occasionally, a fantastic Bongo drummer will join the DJ's on stage which really gets the crowd going. You may even have the pleasure of seeing my favourite duo Greg Ilsen and Charlie Schmidt ;)  Check them out here…

The other night I spotted this curly haired, friendly looking chap with the biggest grin i've ever seen plastered on his face. He said that he had been coming to Taboó since he was 16 years old, and that 10 years later, it was still his favourite place in Madrid. That says it all really…Yes the music in Taboó may not attract the Top 40 commercial music lover, however, why not give it a chance and see if it tickles your fancy!? And if it does, every night you spend there will leave you wanting to come back for more! 

Mercado De San Anton

Located in the heart of Chueca, this modern, urban market is one of my favourite places in Madrid. I’m a bit of a foodie, love cooking new recipes and trying different cuisines, so no wonder I instantly fell in love. 
The market is brimming with light, sound, colour and energy and is the go to place for cool, middle class Madrileños to hang out. 
Mercado San Anton is made up of three floors. The first floor is a traditional food market which offers quality seasonal produce including meats, cheeses, breads and fish. Think Harvey Nichols food court. 
On the second floor, you’ll find prepared dishes that you can grab and eat at one of their high top tables. My personal favourites are the Greek and Italian counter. There are also a few other stalls which have caught my eye, but they are not for the faint hearted. One stall offers Duck prepared in a million different ways, with a particular focus on Foie Gras. The food is excellent, however, pretty pricey for the amount you get. 
On the third level, you will find the rooftop terrace, which provides a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset on a hot summer evening in Madrid. The view is breathtaking and as the night gets cooler fireplaces are lit to make you more comfortable as you lounge on the couches. It also homes a restaurant, La Cocina de San Antón, which allows you to choose fresh produce from the market to be cooked to your taste. 
The vibe on each level is different, but it all harmonizes to create a unique experience that will leave you looking for an excuse to come back! I would suggest that you go fairly early in the evening, in order to secure a spot for the entire night, as it is an incredibly popular hangout. It is, without a doubt, the type of market that’s worth a visit, and even if you aren’t looking to buy anything, I´m sure you won’t leave empty handed.

Carmencita Bar

What an odd afternoon I have encountered. So last night got a little out of hand… Greg’s friends from Nottingham have come to stay for the weekend, and what better way to show them Madrid then to go to Taboó and get absolutely bladdered. Taboó is a little club hidden in the depths of Malasana which we frequent rather a lot. (Some would say a little too much…) I absolutely love it in there. It isn’t too expensive, the music is always spot on, and everyone is always up for a boogie. (I will write a review on Taboó at a later date.)

So on Saturday afternoon we woke up, blurry eyed, heads pounding, trying to piece together the night before. The only solution for this awful hangover is a greasy old fry up. We made our way down to Carmencita, a small cafe near Noviciado. A lot of people have recommended this place to me, and after looking at reviews on Trip Advisor, I was rather excited to go. We booked a table, as it gets very very busy at the weekend.  

The decor is modern, with a few quirky wall stickers dotted about. The menu is very promising, with Eggs Benedict served with crispy bacon and a side of hash browns staring me right in the face. The others ordered the American Plate, which consisted of fried eggs, sausage, bacon and hash browns (WHERE ARE THE BEANS?) So we waited a while, all very hungry and becoming increasingly impatient. 40 minutes later, the American Plate’s arrived. The food was cold. Then, the waitress came over to tell us that they were having a few issues with the Hollandaise sauce but the Eggs Benedict should be ready in a few minutes. Another 15 minutes later, it arrived. Freezing cold eggs, unsatisfactory sauce, grease ridden bread, but the hash browns were good!  The waitress admitted that they had a lot of problems that morning and told us that nothing had to be paid for as it wasn’t up to scratch. Being the students that we are, we asked for a few extra coffees, which were also free. We were all so hungry that we polished off the food, and made a swift exit back to the flat. 

 I was very disappointed with Carmencita, but I do understand that restaurants have their off days, when nothing goes to plan. The service was very slow, however, the American waitress was extremely apologetic and sweet. Despite the food being cold, the quality of ingredients was very good, and i’m sure that if I went again, that the food would be spot on.  

Things I LOVE About Madrid

  • I basically live 5 minutes walk away from Madrid’s equivalent to Oxford Street, Gran Via. I have never lived in a capital city before, I’m more of a country bumpkin, however, I absolutely love how easy I can get around, and how there is always something going on, just outside my front door. 
  • Dogs. I have never in my life seen so many cute dogs in one place. I have always liked dogs, but in Madrid I LOVE DOGS. From the gay couples who wander around with miniature dogs dressed in bright, blingy outfits, to the fat french bulldogs owned by the hip, punky, youngsters. 
  • The bright clear sunny skies in Winter. It’s currently February, and for most of the month it has been a lovely 14 degrees in Madrid. The other day, I nearly whipped out my short shorts and ray bans..typical English behaviour.
  • Street entertainers/metro acts: The majority of the Spanish public don’t have a heart. OK, I guess thats a bit harsh. I’ll try again… the majority of the Spanish public don’t enjoy the little things in life. Wherever you go in central Madrid, there will always be a street performer, and quite often, the Madrileños don’t batter an eyelid. They never fail to make me smile though. My mornings are always brightened up by someone on the metro bursting into song.
My Top 3 performers are as follows: 
1) Crazy Spanish lady who pushes round a boom box on her granny trolley singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
2) The chap who sits on Fuencarral attempting to sing Bob Marley. “dun worry bout a ting cus erry little ting is gon be aaaaaright.” 
3) The three miniature Mexican hombres who serenaded me on the metro when I was tired and fed up.


I had a little wander round Malasaña today and stumbled across some awesome graffiti. 

Taken by Giselle Helene Elizabeth Boxer

Marmite Lover

I am so lucky to live in a city where food is of such great importance. In Spain, eating is much more of a social experience than in the UK, and perhaps this is the reason why there are so many restaurants and cafes across Madrid. I have been here for about 4 months and have learnt to appreciate and embrace the tastes that the city has to offer, but from time to time it is natural that us Britons want a taste of home.  

Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps, cheddar, English muffins, bagels, Robinson’s Squash, Birmingham’s finest Chicken Tikka Balti, Wagamama, Nandos, Pataks curry sauces, Dolmio pasta sauce, a proper greasy fry up from the local caf, fish and chips, roast beef with Yorkshire puds and all the trimmings, smoked back bacon… the list goes on. 

However, one food item which I need to mention is Marmite. Yes I’m one of those wrong-uns who adores the dark, salty, gunge like spread. Everyone has their morning rituals, and mine is to wake up, shower, have a huge mug of Earl Grey (two sugars) and two slices of Marmite on wholemeal bread. (Hovis Seeded Batch.)  But no, WAIT… Spain is severely lacking these three ingredients which ensure that my morning will be a good one. (I’m pretty grumpy in the mornings.)

The selection of bread here is awful. Do I look like I want to eat crustless white bread? Secondly, the selection of tea in the supermarkets in Spain is pretty poor. Yeah I get it, every Spanish señorita is tall, striking and very slim, but I don’t want to be drinking herbal teas everyday in order to fight off hunger. So the other day I purchased a packet of Earl Grey and some English Breakfast Tea.. All i’m going to say on the matter is… DAYLIGHT ROBBERY.

Marmite: My love, my life, my everything. Unfortunately last term I had to leave my giant pot of Marmite in Luton airport as EasyJet were being stingy so and so’s and my case was too heavy. So after 3 weeks of Breakfast time hell, I caved in and bought a small squeezy pot of Marmite from ‘Taste of America’, a shop in Malasaña which sells American food-stuffs and the odd English item. I PAID 10 EUROS FOR IT. Can you tell that I’m angry about this?!?

Well, I’m glad I got that rant out of the way…! After returning to Madrid this January, I ensured that I was fully stocked up with tea and Marmite and this makes me a very happy bunny. (until I run out…) 

La Musa

I only found this restaurant 2 or 3 weeks before returning home, and I wish I had found it sooner. 
La Musa is located Malasana, an area best known for its punk revolution in the 80’s after the end of Franco. This hip, city-central barrio now hosts Madrid’s best cultural and alternative venues for shopping and socialising. It is Madrid’s equivalent to London’s Camden town. 
The decor is right up my street, elegant, minimalistic and artistic. The atmosphere is always lively and vibrant, and the service is fantastic. You will simply find men and women in search of good food, a relaxed atmosphere and affordable prices. May I also mention the music, which fits perfectly with the whole vibe. 
The menu is generally Tapas. I’m so fed up of greasy tapas which you tend to get in most bars around Madrid. The food in La Musa however is so different from that ‘traditional’ selection of croquetas, bread and ham and chicken wings. They serve a mixture of Mediterranean dishes, with a unorthodox twist. My favourite dishes are the Chicken and Vegetable Gyoza (Empanadillas Japonesas) - Japanese dumplings, Beef Carpaccio, a platter of barbecued meats (BBQ mixta) and the deconstructed margarita pizza, a warm tomato and cheese dipping sauce served with fresh bread. 
Not to be forgotten is the alcoholic drinks menu, which is extensive, serving over 15 types of Gin. 
I would massively recommend this place to ANYONE visiting Madrid… and I may actually go back this evening when my housemates return. Cheeky!

My New Home

Taken by Charlie Nikolai Gallienne-Schmidt 

Tribunal Metro Station, a few seconds away from my apartment. 


Hello, my name is Giselle. I'm 21 years of age, studying Spanish and Management at Leeds University, but I am currently living in Madrid on my year abroad. 
I've created a few blogs before, all of which have been unsuccessful. I tend to write one or two posts, then forget about it so... due to my forgetfulness, I am going to write down everything that I encounter on my year abroad in the form of this lovely little blog and therefore, I will be able to tell the Grandkids what I got up to... (some stories may need censoring slightly...)
Here goes...