Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Madrid - The Sights

When you go on city break make sure you take in all the sights of the city!

Madrid is a really amazing city. The architecture is grand and at every corner you turn there's a surprise waiting for you. It's an enchanting city to wander around. At one point you'll be strolling along narrow streets with buildings tumbling over you and then suddenly you emerge into a huge square with magnificent sculptures surrounding you.

And the best way to take in all of a city - a rooftop bar!

This is really the only way to take in the view. Get yourself to the top floor of a tall building, a cold aperol spritz in hand and enjoy the vista. This is the perfect way to relax and while away the afternoon taking in every corner of the city from a birds-eye-view. Under beautiful blue skies it's even more amazing.

We headed up to the rooftop bar of the Circulo de Bella Artes and found a spot to make our own.

At the top of Madrid landmark you can lounge on big couches as the waiters saunter by with trays of cocktails. As you wander round the edge you can see the city from every angle and it's just spectacular. It's really lovely to point out all the spots that you've already visited and the iconic sights of Madrid.

There's something really relaxing about enjoying a couple of hours in the sky.

On our last morning we still had a couple of sights to take in so we off we popped.

The Royal Palace of Madrid is a really spectacular building oozing the decadence and glamour of past era. We didn't go inside, but you can be easily spellbound by wandering around the exterior. The grand palace was designed with Versailles in mind and you can definitely see this inspiration. Build in the 18th century it was once home to Spanish Kings, but now is used for state ceremonies. It's fabulously lavish and luxurious and is a truly breath-taking sight.

The surrounding gardens are also really pretty and you can see how they carry on the grandeur that we found in Retiro.

Next to the Palace is the Almudena Cathedral.

It's a cathedral not quite like any others that I've seen. The building was started in 1883 and wasn't officially finished until 1993 when it was consecrated by the Pope. The kind of gothic style is really intriguing and the exterior matches the facade of the Palace. King Philip II had wanted to build the biggest cathedral in the world and it was always meant to become part of the Palace. The two seamlessly blend together and the beautiful buildings create a really fascinating spot in the city.

The two buildings were built to impress and their grandeur certainly does!

Until next time Madrid...

x x x

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Ready: UK Swimwear

I am more than definitely craving a summer getaway and UK Swimwear have got me right in the mood!

Dare I say it.... summer is coming! I may be writing this in fluffy slippers with rain pattering on the window, but I have been assured that sunnier weather is on the way. And you know even if it doesn't quite reach Glasgow in all its glory (lets be honest it won't) it's ok, because hands up who has got a little summer getaway planned? Me, me!

And what's the one essential you need for a glorious summer holiday? The perfect swimsuit!

I had literally just clicked book on a sunshine getaway to the beautiful Hvar when Uk Swimwear got in touch. I mean the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was just dreaming about living on the beach for ten days so I definitely needed fabulous beachwear wardrobe.

UK Swimwear is a fantastic website that literally has everything you could ever need for a beach/pool holiday. They have a huge array of really good quality swimwear to choose from and they aim to give you as much choice as possible on your quest to find the perfect swimsuit. There is also all the accessories you could ever need - beach bags, kaftans, sun hats. The brands they stock area also pretty fabulous - Forever Unique, Freya, Speedo.... You're pretty much guaranteed to find the ideal summer piece.

It really is your one-stop-shop for a beach holiday and you could spend hours and hours browsing the amazing collection of all different styles and brands.

I went for the Gottex Pearl Goddess Deep Plunge Halterneck Swimsuit - how beautiful is it!

I'm not a bikini person and I've definitely found that I feel far more comfortable in a one-piece and as there's so many more exciting swimsuits out there just now I'm definitely not missing out. This one has a halter neck with a strap detail across the neckline. But it is also pretty snazzy and can be worn two ways, without the strap across the front. The low back and cut out panel on the front transforms it from your average suit and makes it a lil more exciting. It's quite a simple one, but is definitely beautiful. The also adds a touch of detail and frames your silhouette perfectly.

Now the colour, how much do you love it? I must confess that the colour perhaps even one that I'd normally go for, but I'm head over heels. It's a really stunning sapphire/blue shade. I think it will look just stunning set against golden sands and bright blue skies.

It's a really luxurious piece that definitely has an indulgent feel to it. It's really well made and I definitely feel comfortable and secure in it - which, lets be honest, is definitely important when it comes to swimwear! It's perfectly flattering and you can tell the quality of it as soon as you pull it on. I must admit it is perhaps more than I may have spent on a swimsuit. But I'm converted. It's so worth it. It's a piece that will last really well and you can wear summer after summer.

There's nothing better than finding swimwear you feel fabulous in, leaving you grinning from ear to ear as soon as you unwrap that summery parcel. UK Swimwear is a gem and you'll end up booking a summer holiday just so that you can wear the fabulous beach wardrobe that you've amassed from them!

Thanks so much UK Swimwear!

x x x

*** This product was sent to me for review purposes, but all views are my own 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Madrid - Park Life

When the sun comes out in Madrid there's only one place to go - The Buen Retiro Park!

The Buen Retiro Park literally translates as the 'Park of the Pleasant Retreat' and it certainly is, with the grand gates inviting you in...

Finally the sun came out on my little Madrid holiday and we swiftly made our way to this amazing oasis in the heart of the big city. It's the biggest park in Madrid and really is a beautiful space. It's filled with sculptured gardens, fountains, monuments and blossoming green spaces and some even call it the 'green heart of the city'.

Retiro originally belonged to the Spanish Monarchy before it was opened to the public, explaining the magnificent grandeur of the place.

One of the main attractions in the Park is the romantic boating lake.

It's a really peaceful spot and you can watch the rowing boats meandering along and take in the beautiful lake and monument. The lake was the heart of the garden when it belonged to the Palace and there's definitely still a regal feel to the space, with the grand monument that was dedicated to Alfonso XII.

As you venture deeper into the park you find a smaller lake and beside it is the enchanting Crystal Palace.

The huge glass building is a really dazzling sculpture. Built in 1887 it has long been a much-loved feature in the Park. The beautiful Palace is made almost entirely of glass with an iron framework, like a huge, magnificent, imposing green house!

The space is usually filled with exhibitions, but I think empty it's even more charming...

There's a real romance to Retiro and you could wander for hours around the gardens, being delighted as you turn every corner getting lost in the magical maze.

Retiro is filled with all walks of life - there's tourists clicking away, families picnic-ing with laughing children with buskers providing the soundtrack. It's just absolute bliss and the perfect place to explore in the sunshine.

I don't know how you visit Madrid and don't come here!

x x x

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Madrid - The Food Scene

Holidays are primarily about eating and drinking loads of fabulous things.

The food in Madrid was, of course, absolutely gorgeous. Every restaurant we went to served up delicious tapas and amazing local wines, but if you really want to enjoy all that the Madrid food scene has on offer in one go then make sure you head to the fabulous Mercado San Miguel. This indoor market really is the best way to try absolutely everything.

The historic wrought-iron and glass sculpture is just off the Plaza Mayor in the old quarter and it's a really lively foodie spot with an amazing atmosphere. Under one roof there's simply everything you could ever have dreamt of - and all delicious. The glass walls show-off the wonders inside, enticing you in with mouth-watering promises. It's a really beautiful and special spot.

Originally built in 1916 and renovated in 2003 the Mercado San Miguel is described as a 'gourmet tapas market'.

It's not really a typical market in the sense that you go to the market in the morning and pick up all you need for the week. It's kind of more of a giant picnic place with lots of little stalls that you can build up your meal with. All of the food and wine laden stalls surround a central area filled with long tables. You load up on tasty treats, find your spot and try not to get food envy as someone wanders by with an amazing dish that for some reason you didn't spot!

There's delicious cones filled with typical Spanish meats, amazing stalls overflowing with local wines, a mozzarella bar filled with cheese like you've never seen before and all washed down with some delicious, bubbling cava.

This was our first day in the city and it absolutely poured so naturally we filled our glasses with pink fizz and watched the world of the market go by - what else can you do when it's a rainy day on holiday!

The energy in the place is amazing as everyone is delighted by their fabulous, foodie finds. It's a really colourful spot that's busy, bustling and exciting. It really is the best that the culinary scene of Madrid has on offer. As soon as you walk through the door all of your senses come alive - you're assaulted by a cacophony of amazing smells and your eyes pop open as you take in the array that they stall-owners are calling shouting about.

I love a good market and this one is really something special. It's a gorgeous place that really gets you excited about the Spanish cuisine - after all holidays are all about indulging in a lil bit of food and a lil bit of wine.

x x x