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

Monday, 29 April 2013

Lolina Vintage Cafe

I'm currently sitting in a very sweet cafe in Malasaña updating my blog. Nestled in a flowerbox-adorned corner on Calle Espíritu Santo, their décor is kitsch and the food and drink is delicious.

Reasonably priced, fresh food including an excellent Spanish Tortilla with salad, toasts with different toppings including goats cheese and cranberry and they also serve very good fruit juices. 

I also recommend trying the Frappuccino with a ball of coffee ice cream on top.  

This is one of my favourite places to come in Malasaña if I need a few quiet moments, with my laptop, doing work for university, or updating my blog. 


Situated on Plaza del Ángel just up the road from Sol. Stunning in the evening, very impressive at night, with the whole area lit up with lilac lights.
Traditional Mediterranean cuisine with a contemporary twist.
Astonishingly low prices for the prime location, luxurious art deco surroundings and gourmet menu. The meal was immaculately presented and delicious, the service polite and attentive and the bill wasn't too hefty either. 

Reservations are required, but there is a very quick turnover, so you won't be waiting long for a table. 

Steak with mash and aubergine mousse
Artichoke salad with shavings of Jamón Iberico
Deep fried octopus in a crispy batter
Prawn Tempura 


This small bakery is a nice quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of nearby Gran Via. 
I've never tried Gluten free produce, but the outside of the Cake shop was so pretty I had to go in. 
We tried the strawberry cheesecake, which was lovely. Zingy strawberry, buttery crunch base, and bouncy cream cheese. 
The carrot cake and banoffee cake was also really nice, very moist and full of flavour. 

Usually I would expect to pay a higher price for such 'specialised' goods, but the prices are very reasonable here.

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Sorry if these 'collage' images are annoying you, but i've just become obsessed with this app!
I've never really eaten a lot of Sushi, it kinda freaked me out a bit, but my more adventurous housemates introduced me to Handrolls. Which are called Temaki's in Japanese. 
They are wrapped up rice veg, meat or fish in a nori seeweed cone. And they are even served in a very sweet bamboo boat shaped container. 
Japanese fast food seems quite popular amongst young hipsters in Madrid. Bykono markets towards anyone that doesn't have time for a full meal, but wants a healthy fresh snack that boosts their energy levels.

Top 3 Temakis:
Prawn tempura with lettuce, and mayo
Chicken Teryaki with crispy onion bits
Salmon and Philidelphia

Year Abroad 2k13


I've been feeling pretty nostalgic recently. I cannot believe my Year Abroad is nearly over. Weep. Blubber. THE WORST. I've met so many incredible people here, experienced so many fun memories, seen so many cool places. I've definitely got the travelling bug now. I have never travelled before, and spending time away from my family and friends at home has been difficult. Times have been hard, but I feel like I have really developed as a person here. I have a clearer outlook on what I want to do with my life, the people I want to spend my time with, the places I want to see. I will be incredibly sad when I leave Madrid, but for now I'm just going to make the most of the time I have left. I remember someone telling me before I went to Leeds Uni, that my University life will go past in a split second. And that exact thing has happened. Don't waste it doing things you don't enjoy. And say yes, to everything. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Go Car

Go car is an innovative car hire company in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon.  
I would love to say that it was completely my idea to hire out these cars, but I actually saw them on Geordie Shore. (no shame)

It cost us 24 euros each (including insurance) to use the cars for an hour, but you do have to pay a 300 euro deposit. The car has an inbuilt GPS system and the tour guide is a rather amusing woman, who tells you about the various sites as you pass them, 
It wasn't until we sped off from the starting point, that we realised that we may actually be risking our lives... I won't give details as I don't want to scare my mama, but all I'm going to say is that there were a few moments where we may not have got our 300 euro deposit back...The taxi drivers absolutely hated us, motorists laughed at us, and the pedestrians absolutely loved us. Chatwin and Mia were the designated drivers, whilst Sarah and I got bevvied (as the Scottish would say!)
We decided to take the most popular tour, which included Las Ramblas, Barrio Gótico and the beach. Las Ramblas was probably the most amusing, as we beeped at the pedestrians and waved to our adoring fans. There is an option to hire the cars for longer than an hour, but I think an hour was just enough time to see everything. 

If you want the ultimate sightseeing experience with a quick, fun filled tour of Barcelona then I would thoroughly recommend using Go Car. 

Friday, 19 April 2013


I have spent many a hungover afternoon in Madrid searching for a cafe that serves a real deal English Breakfast. As mentioned in an earlier post, we went to Carmencita, which I was told served excellent brunch in Madrid. For anyone who hasn't read about my experience, it wasn't the best. However, I must tell you now that we recently visited a second time, and the food was excellent. Still no baked beans though…

Anyway! The next few posts will be about Barcelona. I had the best weekend of my life, and I'm so lucky to have celebrated by 21st Birthday there, with some of my amazing friends. 

The morning after a rather eventful evening at Razzmattazz, we wandered the cobbled streets of the Gothic district in search of Milk, a well known bistro/bar in Barcelona. The atmosphere was so chilled, with comfy seats and a soothing soundtrack, (Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Simply Red vibes) and the staff were very friendly. 

Milk's breakfast menu is called Recovery Brunch, which they serve everyday from 10 till 4pm. The majority of us ordered the English Brekky which was just perfection. BEANS, MUSHROOMS, TOMATOES, SCRAMBLED EGGS, BACON, SPICY POTATOES, TOAST. I was absolutely loving life. The Eggs Benedict also looked sensational, and the Smoothies were an absolute delight. We even got a glass of cava thrown in for free because our food took a while to come out. We left the cafe, extremely full, but in high spirits as we made our way down to the beach for a long lie down in the sun. 

If you are in Barcelona, and want a really tasty brunch with big portions, at reasonable prices, in a cool hip venue, then the only place to be is Milk. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Barcelona Snaps

I've been up to my eyeballs lately. My TO-DO list is getting increasingly larger but I am slowly making my way through it. I promise I will write some more posts in the next couple of days, but for now, here is a selection of my favourite photos taken in Barcelona. 

Taken by Sarah Rebecca Wilkie

Thursday, 4 April 2013

3 Things To Do During Siesta Time

I HATE SIESTAS! I'm not really a day time nap kinda girl, as once I'm asleep, there is no way you are waking me up for at least 6 hours. Another thing you should know about me is that I LOVE SHOPPING! Many people know that I have a bit of a shopping addiction, and when I found out I was going to be living in Madrid for a year, I was ridiculously excited at the prospect of clothes shopping. 

Therefore when I first got to Spain, I was pretty miffed that in the middle of the day from 2:30 to 5:30pm, most shops are closed, as the Spaniards are sleeping... I shouldn't complain that much, as most of the high street stores stay open during this time, but the smaller boutiquey stores are all closed. So instead of feeding my shopping addiction, I decided it was probably healthier for my bank balance to go exploring instead. In this post I will recommend 3 things which you can do during Siesta time... enjoy!

1) Almudena Cathedral. Many people think that living abroad is basically a year long holiday. Yes I am having an unbelievable time here, but there are times where I feel a little overwhelmed, stressed and homesick.

So one day, instead of moping about in my flat, I walked round the city to the sweet sounds of Ben Howard and stumbled across the Cathedral. My mind was running at a million miles an hour, full of worry and stress, but as soon as I walked into the Cathedral I felt an overwhelming sense of tranquility and serenity. I wouldn't say that I'm religious, but I am a spiritual and philosophical kinda girl. Just sitting in such peaceful surroundings allowed me to clear my head, and get my act together. 

2) Retiro. It was 30 degrees in Madrid when I arrived in September, and we spent many lazy afternoons basking in the Spanish sunshine. In my opinion, there is no better place to spend the Siesta than in Retiro Park, especially if the weather is good. You can hire out a rowing boat on the lake or have a lie down in the park and relax in the beautiful surroundings. 

3) Plaza Dos de Mayo. Plaza Dos de Mayo is one of the most iconic and famous squares in Madrid. In the 80's, this square was the main hangout in Malasaña for musicians, writers, and arty farty alternative types. This cool spot is still a central point in Malasaña for social gatherings. I have recently discovered that the square is a favourite spot for dog owners during the Siesta. Sometimes I spend my afternoons people watching, as the dogs frolic, and their owners have a good gossip. 

In the day you can grab a drink at one of the bars or cafes that surround the square, and at night, you can join the botellón, the name for a huge get together with lots of young people, and alcohol. (until the feds turn up…) 


I'm going to Barcelona in 8 days, to celebrate my 21st Birthday. YEAAAAHH BABY!!!!
 I've been doing a wee bit of research on where to go, what to do etc, and came across some beautiful photos. Here are a selection of my favourite photographs that I have found on various blogs and sites.